Colombia won a CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying thriller 3-2 at Bolivia to get their campaign back on track following a dramatic bout and a late Edwin Cardona winner.
Los Cafateros had won just one of their opening four qualifying matches heading into Thursday’s bout at the Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz, managing only four points from their opening four matches.
Bolivia, of whom less is expected, had managed only three points, and had already been defeated three times so far during the campaign, against Uruguay, Ecuador and Paraguay.
The home side’s struggles continued in the 11th minute when Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez, putting his troubles at club level behind him to finish with aplomb after lashing the ball across the goal and into the net.
Carlos Bacca added a second just before half time to seemingly put the tie beyond the home side.
However, Bolivia, perhaps sensing that their prospects of progressing to the global showpiece in Russia were hanging by a thread, started the second half strongly.
They halved the deficit five minutes into the second period when Juan Carlos Arca finished past David Ospina from the penalty spot after a handball in the box.
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Alejandro Chumacero added an equaliser from outside the area 13 minutes later as Bolivia’s resurgence continued and they threatened to turn the contest on its head.
However, there was a late sting in the tail, when the visitors, catching their hosts on the break, bagged a 90th-minute winner through Monterrey’s Cardona.
The win takes Colombia provisionally level with third-place Brazil on seven points—having played a game more—while Bolivia, on three points, will need to begin picking up wins sooner rather than later to stand any chance of progressing.