After kidnapping, father of Colombia striker Luis Díaz celebrates son’s goals vs. Brazil

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BARRANQUILLA, Colombia (AP) — Days after he was released by kidnappers, the father of Colombia striker Luis Díaz was in tears on Thursday after he watched his son score both goals in a 2-1 win over Brazil in a World Cup qualifying match.

Wearing a Colombia jersey and a necklace, Luis Manuel Díaz fell on top of some people next to him in the stands of the Metropolitano Stadium and wept next to his wife, Cilenis Marulanda, as he celebrated.

Luis Manuel Díaz was held captive for 12 days in a mountainous region by the ELN guerrilla group. He was reunited with his family on Tuesday.

“I thank God. He makes it all possible. We have always lived tough moments, but life makes you strong and brave. So is soccer and so is life,” Luis Díaz said after the match. “We deserved this victory.”

Díaz scored both goals on headers, the first in the 75th minute and the second in the 79th. It was Colombia’s first win against Brazil in World Cup qualifying in 15 matches.

“He is a friend, he suffered a lot these days. This is beyond soccer, he deserves it,” said Brazil goalkeeper Alisson, a teammate of Díaz at Liverpool.

Armed men on motorcycles kidnapped Díaz’s parents from a gas station in the town of Barrancas on Oct. 28. His mother was rescued within hours by police, who set up roadblocks around the town of 40,000 people near the Venezuelan border.

Díaz and Colombia will take on Paraguay next Tuesday.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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