Colombia remained firmly on course for an automatic FIFA World Cup berth on Friday after sweeping aside Bolivia 5-0 in South American qualifiers. Goals from Macnelly Torres, Carlos Valdez, Teofilo Gutierrez, Radamel Falcao and Pablo Armero secured an easy win as Colombia moved up to second place in the CONMEBOL group.
Revelling in the humid conditions, Barranquilla's Metropolitano Stadium rocked before kick-off as the home crowd paid an emotional tribute to former national keeper Miguel Calero, who died in December aged 41.
Colombia found the back of the net twice in the opening 10 minutes only for each effort to be disallowed for offside by referee Carlos Alfredo Vera. Atletico Madrid's highly coveted striker Falcao glanced in a seventh-minute header on seven minutes before Gutierrez saw his low shot ruled out three minutes later.
But with Juan Zuniga and Fiorentina wingback Juan Cuadrado providing width down the flanks, Colombia were always in control against a Bolivian side who struggled to deal with their opponents' superior pace.
Colombia break the deadlock
Colombia took the lead on 20 minutes, sweeping upfield rapidly before Falcao picked up the ball on the edge of the area. Falcao's pass found the overlapping Cuadrado, who rolled a low cross across the area which somehow eluded a clutch of Bolivian defenders to find Torres, who stroked home the opener.
Colombia doubled their lead shortly after half-time when Bolivia failed to clear a knock-down from Abel Aguilar which Valdez prodded home. Gutierrez then made the game safe on 62 minutes, latching onto a through ball from Torres before steering past Bolivia's substitute keeper Sergio Galarza for 3-0.
Three minutes from time Falcao made it 4-0 with a deft finish from close-range before substitute Armero completed the rout in stoppage time.