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James stars in first half as Colombia leads Panama in Copa quarters

James Rodriguez Colombia James Rodriguez - Getty Images

James Rodriguez starred in the first half with a goal and two assists to help Colombia to a 3-0 lead over Panama in their Copa America quarterfinal tilt from Glendale, Arizona on Saturday.

Rodriguez’s first assist came in the 8th minute when he played in a beautiful ball from a corner kick that found the head of Jhon Cordoba. Cordoba made no mistake and powered the header past Panamanian keeper Orlando Mosquera for an early 1-0 lead.

The 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner added a goal from the penalty spot in the 15th minute after midfielder Jhoan Arias was fouled in box by Panama’s Mosquera. Rodriguez stepped up and put away a tidy finish in the top right corner to extend the lead to 2-0.

His world-class ability was on display again when he launched a pass from his own end to forward Luis Diaz, who chipped the keeper on the rush to make it 3-0.

The former Real Madrid man recorded his fourth and fifth assists in four contests for Colombia in this year’s Copa America, and his 28th goal in 104 international caps.

Panama’s best chance of the first half came in the 18th minute after centre back Roderick Miller hit the woodwork with a header. The ball deflected off the post and into the direction of Colombia’s keeper Camilo Vargas, who swatted it off the goal line.

Colombian midfielder Mateus Uribe picked up the only booking of the half with a yellow card in the first minute of injury time.