MIAMI, July 11 — Colombia coach Nestor Lorenzo said his team had been rewarded for their bravery in their 1-0 win over Uruguay in Wednesday’s incident-packed Copa America semi-final.

Down to 10 men for the entire second half, after Daniel Munoz was sent off just before the interval, Colombia held on for victory without the need for ultra-defensive tactics.

“The truth is that it was a very tough match. Uruguay is an excellent team, with excellent players and a coach I admire a lot” Lorenzo said of his fellow Argentine, counterpart Marcelo Bielsa.

“But we took the lead, the risk, and we were even brave. When we were down one we kept two strikers and that is an act of courage that was rewarded,” said Lorenzo.

Munoz was dismissed after a wild elbow on Manuel Ugarte earned him a second yellow but Lorenzo had no harsh words for his player.

“Dani is a little more down because he is a lion and he was betrayed by emotion. I gave him a hug and told him: without you we wouldn’t be here,” he said.

“(But) one of the issues we always talk about is not to be left with one less man,” added Lorenzo.

The win means Colombia will face Argentina in Sunday’s final in Miami and Lorenzo said he was relishing the match-up with his homeland.

“This is going to be very nice, I am going to be (competing) with players I met during my career and who I admire a lot,” said the former Argentina assistant coach.

“We have to recover and arrive in the best way. We hope we don’t have any news from the medical team, because there are always blows, pain that has to be treated, but I think we are going to arrive in good shape,” he said.

The win also extends Colombia’s unbeaten run to 28 games, 25 of them under Lorenzo’s guidance, and it breaks the previous record of 27 matches set between 1992 and 1994 when the likes of Carlos Valderrama and Freddy Rincon graced the side.

“As we said we would, we went game by game. We did not surpass (the 90’s team) They left a base. So it is not leaving that behind, it is adding to it, so that Colombian football grows”.

“But this is a group that wants to be a protagonist, that wants to win something, that is hungry and that is in growing. We are moving forward,” he added. — AFP