Friday 20 July 2018

Radamel Falcao makes revealing admission following match-fixing allegations in Peru vs Colombia draw

Radamel Falcao of Colombia gestures during a match between Peru and Colombia as part of FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers at Monumental Stadium on October 10, 2017 in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Daniel Apuy/Getty Images)
Radamel Falcao of Colombia gestures during a match between Peru and Colombia as part of FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers at Monumental Stadium on October 10, 2017 in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Daniel Apuy/Getty Images)

Evan Bartlett

Radamel Falcao has admitted that he discussed playing for a draw with his opponents following allegations of match-fixing in Colombia’s 1-1 draw with Peru – a result which saw both sides progress in World Cup qualifying.

With results elsewhere going in their favour, Colombia knew a draw would see them finish in fourth place and qualify automatically, while Peru would advance to a play-off against New Zealand after finishing fifth.

A loss for either side would have seen Chile – who eventually finished sixth on goal difference – overtake them for a possible spot in Russia.

With the scores level towards the end of the match in Lima on Tuesday night, Falcao could be seen animatedly speaking to several Peru players with his hand covering his mouth.

The two teams then appeared to take their foot off the pedal with the clock running down.

Falcao insists, however, that both sides “fought for 90 minutes” and played for the win. 

“We knew what was happening in the other matches, we were playing with [the knowledge of] the other results and in that moment [I tried] to transmit that [to Peru],” the Colombia and Monaco forward said.

“But I think Peru has been a worthy rival, they fought for 90 minutes just like us. The match was very tight. We suffered a lot but in the end we did it.”

The incident has been one of the big talking points following the last round of games in South American qualifying, with commentators dubbing it the “Pact of Lima”.

Peru midfielder Renato Tapia added further fuel to the fire by admitting the Colombia players approached them about the draw and that his side “managed the game as we needed to”.

"In the last five minutes, the Colombians approached us. They knew what the situation was in the other games," Tapia told Panamericana TV.

"So we managed the game as we needed to... I spoke with Radamel, who told me we were both qualified [as things stood].”

But like Falcao, Tapia also insisted: “It's football and we play to win.”

Peru coach and former Newcastle midfielder Nolberto Solano dismissed the controversy as “speculation”.

“We needed to win, them too. What pact? That’s speculation,” he said.

“Obviously, at the end, we knew what the other results were and you tell yourself, ‘Calm it down a bit, we mustn’t take any risks'.”

Independent News Service

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