Murillo, the unlikely hero who sank Brazil

Murillo, the unlikely hero who sank Brazil

Murillo also paid tribute to Colombia’s fans, who turned Santiago’s Monumental Stadium into a sea of yellow, red and blue.

By (Reuters)

Published: Sat 20 Jun 2015, 12:49 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:52 PM

Santiago — A year ago, when Brazil knocked Colombia out of the World Cup in the quarterfinals, Jeison Murillo was just one more Colombian fan, suffering the disappointment of defeat.

But at the Copa America on Wednesday night, the young defender became Colombia’s unlikely hero, scoring his first international goal to give his side a 1-0 victory over Brazil and exact revenge for last year.

His 36th minute strike gave Colombia their first win over their South American neighbours in 24 years and only their third in 28 meetings between the two sides.

It also revitalised Colombia’s Copa campaign following their surprise defeat by Venezuela in their opening match. “It’s the most important goal of my career, it’s a dream come true,” Murillo told Reuters in an interview.

The past year has been full of ups and downs for Murillo.

In October he was called up by coach Jose Pekerman for his first cap and now he is playing his first competitive matches for Colombia. “Making your debut in a Copa America isn’t easy, but I’ve always had confidence, because I believe in my abilities and that’s what’s it all about, working to give yourself a chance,” he said. — Reuters

“I thank God for our victory and for a lovely goal.”

At one point it looked like the 23-year-old might miss the Copa America. In April he suffered a knee injury and was sidelined for nearly a month, but after the initial fright he recovered in time to come to Chile.

Murillo came up through the ranks at Deportivo Cali in his home city and, like so many other young Latin Americans before him, made the leap to Europe by joining Italian club Udinese.

From there he moved to Spain where he played on loan at Granada, Cadiz and Deportiva Las Palmas. Once the Copa is over he will move back to Italy to join Inter Milan.

Murillo heaped praise on his teammates for the way they took on the Brazilians.

“It wasn’t all down to me, it was the goalkeeper, the back four, the two guys up front, the playmakers and the forwards,” he said. “The best thing about us is the way we work as a team.

“We went in to the Brazil match with a hunger because we looked back into the past and saw that things haven’t always worked out for us against them,” he said.

“That’s why this result is so important and makes us so happy.”

Murillo also paid tribute to Colombia’s fans, who turned Santiago’s Monumental Stadium into a sea of yellow, red and blue.

“The support of the fans is very important. Colombia is a country that always supports its own people, whatever the situation, and that’s a bonus for us in each match,” he said.

Colombia play Peru in their final Group C match on Sunday. 

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