Barranquilla, Colombia – On an emotional night, Luis Diaz inspired Colombia to a victory over Brazil as his father watched the match from the stands after being released by kidnappers.
The Liverpool forward scored two goals within five minutes in the second half to complete a surprising comeback for Colombia in the 2026 World Cup qualifier in Barranquilla.
Diaz was reunited with his father, Luis Manuel Diaz, on Tuesday after rebels held him hostage for 12 days.
After scoring his first goal, Diaz was surrounded by teammates and staff.
In the 75th minute, the 26-year-old player pointed to the crowd after scoring the equalizer, and television cameras showed his teary-eyed father, wearing a Colombia shirt, celebrating with raised arms.
Diaz mentioned that he had experienced “difficult moments” in recent weeks but added, “Life makes you strong and brave, and I think that’s football, and not just football but life.
“I’m grateful to my teammates, to the coaching staff who were always there for me at every moment,” he said.
“And I dedicate the victory to the people, who deserved it.”
Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli had given the favored Brazil a fourth-minute lead before they lost Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr to injury later in the first half.
This victory came just two days after he was reunited with his father, who was freed by Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group after being kidnapped in his hometown of Barrancas on October 28.
Diaz’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was also kidnapped but was rescued a few hours later, prompting a massive search operation for her 58-year-old husband.