The first semi-final of the 2021 Copa America is done and dusted. Defending champion Brazil faced off against minnow Peru at the Estádio Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiro on Monday. Although it was expected to be an easy ride for Brazil, considering Peru's stature, it became a hard-fought one since it was a semis clash, as Peru refused to give up. Nevertheless, as the champs book their place in the final, we look at how it all happened. First half The opening half was eventful, with both sides coming up with decent attacking attempts. While Brazil was in control with most of the possession, Peru's goalkeeper Pedro Gallese kept denying the Brazilians on most of the occasion. After five failed attempts within the 25th minute, it was ten minutes later when the host was finally put ahead by Lucas Paquetá, who fired in a brilliantly assisted ball by Neymar, finally managing to beat Gallese, who had frustrated the Brazilians for some time. The closing stages saw another attempt, as Renan Lodi came close to scoring the double, only to shoot his header wide, while Brazil led at half-time. Second half In the following half, things became even intense, as Peru was seemingly back to life and looked to challenge the Brazilians with a series of attacks. Following three attempts from the side by the 61st minute, the Brazilians tightened their defence. While Brazil appealed for a penalty in the 71st minute via Richarlison, Peru had another chance of levelling the score, ten minutes later, through Alexander Callens, only for the header to travel wide. Nevertheless, it was the final piece of attack for the evening, as none of the sides could net any further, meaning that the host sealed the spot in its 21st final, as it awaits Argentina or Colombia on Saturday. Stats It was the first time that Paquetá had scored in consecutive games for Brazil. Having played at least ten games in Copa, Brazilian head coach Tite has now registered the fifth-best win percentage (75%) after JP Cea (90%), G Stabile (84%), M Zagallo (83%) and F Coast (79%). NOTE: Asianet News humbly requests everyone to wear masks, sanitise, maintain social distancing and get vaccinated as soon as eligible. Together we can and will break the chain #ANCares #IndiaFightsCorona

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