Sao Paulo, June 20: Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez said his team's late 0-1 Copa America defeat against Colombia left a "bad taste" after the AFC Asian Cup 2019 champions threatened to pull off another shock result.
After overturning a two-goal deficit to earn a stunning 2-2 draw with Paraguay in their Group B opener, guests Qatar almost secured another point until Duvan Zapata broke the deadlock in the 86th minute.
Zapata broke Qatar hearts with four minutes remaining in Sao Paulo, where the AFC Asian Cup 2019 holders lost their first competitive match since the Gulf Cup of Nations in December, 2017.
Speaking to reporters post-match, Sanchez said: "It leaves us with a bad taste because the end was already close.
"Score a goal in final minutes, when the game is tied ... You leave with the bitterness of not being able to score but we also have to value that the team competed with a great rival.
"We played against one of the best teams in the world. Despite the loss, we competed until the final whistle. This will give us strength to keep working and preparing for the future," the Spaniard added.
James Rodriguez – who is reportedly set to join Napoli from Real Madrid – provided the assist for Zapata's winner against the 2022 World Cup hosts and he added: "We had a very good game. We are on the right track. When you have Falcao and Duvan you always have a goal."
Zapata's goal made it two wins from two games for Colombia, who advanced to the Copa America quarterfinals.
"It's always like this when you have a team with the obligation to win and another which is very organised and that plays very tight on defence, not giving up spaces," Colombia boss Carlos Queiroz, who led Iran during the AFC Asian Cup 2019, said.
Este jogo nos deixou com muitas emoções, mas foi "La Tricolor" que fez o continente vibrar com 19 chutes a gol. Veja mais estatísticas aqui: https://t.co/mYYF6r9PXt @CONMEBOL #CopaAmerica pic.twitter.com/led1po2gXH— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) June 19, 2019
"If you don't score early, you are going to suffer. We won because Colombia played the way I like Colombia to play, fully focused during the 90 minutes."
(With Omnisport inputs)