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Pekerman dedicates Colombia win to defender

Published:Sunday | June 24, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Colombia’s Juan Cuadrado (center) has his shot charged down by Poland’s Maciej Rybus (left) as goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny prepares to make a save during the sides’ Group H FIFA World Cup match at the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia yesterday.

KAZAN, Russia (AP):

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman dedicated his team's victory over Poland to Carlos Sanchez, who was the target of a death threat after receiving a red card in an earlier match at the World Cup.

The suspended midfielder was sent off in the team's 2-1 loss to Japan in their opening game, and as a result, did not play in the 3-0 win over Poland yesterday.

Colombian authorities are investigating the death threat, which was made on social media. The message appeared with an image of Sanchez and Colombia defender Andres Escobar, who was shot dead on the outskirts of Medellin on July 2, 1994, days after returning from the United States after competing at the World Cup. Escobar scored an own-goal against the host country at the tournament.

"This victory is dedicated to Carlos Sanchez, because he has had a very hard time these last few days," Pekerman said. "We achieved this victory and I wanted to share it with him. I'm expressing it personally but it's something that the whole squad feels."

Sanchez could be back for Colombia's final Group H game against Senegal on Thursday in Samara.

"The player was deeply affected by this matter," Pekerman said. "And I think that we understand that football is something. We play with a lot of responsibility and a lot of dedication and so forth, but these things shouldn't be said lightly. And whether it's confirmed or not, this is something that his very painful."

Senegal and Japan drew 2-2 earlier yesterday and lead the group with four points each. Colombia has three points and would advance with another victory.