Luís Díaz scores twice in front of father as Colombia tops Brazil in World Cup qualifying

Díaz’s parents were kidnapped by Colombian guerrillas last month and the family was finally reunited on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ivan Valencia) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Luís Díaz scored two goals in a span of four minutes to help Colombia top Brazil, 2-1, in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying Thursday.

It was an emotional brace for Díaz, not only because it helped his country keep pace in qualifying, but the Liverpool winger did it with his father in attendance, days after the two were reunited following Luís Manuel Díaz’s kidnapping.

Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring for Brazil in the fourth minute, and it wasn’t until the 75th minute that Díaz tied the match.

Four minutes later, it was Díaz again using his head as the Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez erupted and Díaz Sr. was overcome by emotion.

Díaz’s parents kidnapped in late October

Díaz Sr. and his wife, Cilenis Marulanda, were kidnapped by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) at a gas station near the family’s hometown of Barrancas on Oct. 28. Marulanda was rescued later that day after police set up roadblocks, but Díaz Sr. remained missing, which led to a search by special forces and a $48,000 reward for information leading to his recovery.

Díaz did not play for Liverpool during wins over Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth, but returned to the pitch for their 1-1 draw with Luton Town on Nov. 5. It was his goal in the 95th minute that rescued a point for the Reds. During the celebrations, Díaz pulled up his jersey, revealing a shirt that read, “Libertad para papa,” which translates to “Freedom for dad” in English.

Díaz Sr. was released Nov. 9. According to the The Associated Press, the ELN took credit for the kidnapping, but said it had been a mistake and the group’s top leadership ordered his release.

The four alleged kidnappers appeared at a hearing Thursday in the Colombian city of Riohacha. A judge will determine on Monday whether they will remain in jail or be released on conditional bail.

With the international break underway, Díaz flew to Colombia for two World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Paraguay. When he arrived in Barranquilla, his parents were waiting for him — which marked the first time Díaz was able to see his parents since they were kidnapped in October.

The victory puts Colombia into third place in the CONMEBOL standings with nine points through five matches. Brazil drops to fifth with seven points and are winless in their last three.

Both countries will play their second qualifying game of the international window Tuesday as Colombia heads to Paraguay, while Brazil faces Lionel Messi and Argentina at the Estadio do Maracanã.

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