Venezuela continued their magical Copa America run on Thursday evening with a shock 1-0 win over Uruguay, all but sealing passage to the tournament quarterfinals while virtually sealing an early flight home for the Albiceleste.
The Venezuelan underdogs took a deserved lead late in the first half when Alejandro Guerra recovered an errant header from Uruguay's Egidio Arevalo Rios in his own half, dashed across the halfway line and launched an audacious lob from the right sideline. Though Uruguay 'keeper Fernando Muslera was able to tip the initial effort onto the crossbar, he could not get in front of Salomon Rondon's follow-up attempt, which proved to be the only goal La Vinotinto needed.
Uruguay came out firing in the second half, but struggled to even put a shot on target despite numerous attempts. On the other end, it was only a one-on-one save from Muslera on Adalberto Penaranda that kept Venzuela from icing their win.
- 36’ – VEN – Salomon Rondon
- Full box score
YOU MISS 100% OF THE SHOTS YOU TAKE:
OK, I may be misquoting Wayne Gretzky here (or was it Michael Scott?), but that’s how it felt for Uruguay, who missed 12 of their 13 shots on Thursday. They were all but eliminated having taken the fewest shots on goal of any team in the tournament:
This was tweeted at halftime, and the Uruguayans did get a shot on goal – a soft, sliding effort from Edinson Cavani right into the Venezuela goalkeeper’s chest in the first minute of second-half stoppage time. What epitomized Uruguay’s effort most, though, was Cavani’s effort just minutes earlier, when he got himself wide open at the penalty spot with a chance to equalize, only
You can bet dollars to donuts that Uruguay wouldn’t have had this issue with shots on goal had Luis Suarez been on the field, and not on the bench. The Barcelona superstar picked up an injury at the end of his club season that was not serious enough to keep him off the Uruguay roster, but was serious enough to keep him out of the first two games. Suarez was listed as ‘injured’ on Uruguay’s team sheet for this game, meaning he was eligible to sit on the bench and warm up, but he was not eligible to play. That, apparently, didn’t stop him from this outburst in the second half, with his country’s Copa hopes hanging by a thread:
Said Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez:
- URU: Monday vs. Jamaica (10 pm ET; FS1, UniMás, UDN)
- VEN: Monday vs. Mexico (8 pm ET; FS1, Univision, UDN)