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Copa América: Agony for Albirroja and Almirón

Written by Dan King

Paraguay were knocked out of the Copa America by Peru after a thrilling quarter-final and a penalty shoot-out.

Miguel Almirón - whose performances for La Albirroja earned him a place alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar in the team of the tournament for the first phase of the competition - was ruled out of the last-eight clash at Estádio Olímpico Pedro Ludovico in Goiânia, Brazil, after suffering an injury in the final group game against Uruguay.

And while there had been some hope that the Newcastle United man would be able to return for the latter stages of the competition had Paraguay progressed, his tournament is now definitely over after Friday night's spot-kick defeat.

Captain Gustavo Gómez had given Eduardo Berizzo's side the lead but was then sent off on the stroke of half time, by which time Gianluca Lapadula had scored twice to nudge Peru ahead. 

Júnior Alonso equalised but Yoshimar Yotún looked to have won the game for the 2019 runners-up in the 80th minute. Peru were then also reduced to ten men, though, and substitute Gabriel Ávalos scored in the final seconds to send the game to penalties. 

However, Peru prevailed in the shoot-out, winning 4-3 on spot-kicks to become the first team to book their place in the semi-finals. 

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