gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Uruguay beats Brazil 4-2 on penalties after scoreless draw, advances to Copa America semifinals – The Zimbabwe Mail

Uruguay beats Brazil 4-2 on penalties after scoreless draw, advances to Copa America semifinals

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LAS VEGAS — Marcelo Bielsa anticipated the world’s reaction to the gritty, scrappy Copa America quarterfinal between Uruguay and Brazil, characterized by 41 fouls, four shots on target, and no goals during regular play.

While the match on Saturday night wasn’t the most visually appealing display of soccer, Bielsa, the innovative coach now heading Uruguay’s team, focused on the celebrations back home and in the stands as La Celeste secured a historic win.

Uruguay advanced to the Copa America semifinals with a 4-2 penalty shootout victory after a scoreless draw. Manuel Ugarte scored the decisive goal in the fifth round of the shootout, clinching the win.

The match was marked by rough play and numerous fouls, with Uruguay’s Nahitan Nández receiving a red card in the 74th minute for a dangerous tackle on Rodrygo. Despite playing against ten men for the final 21 minutes, Brazil couldn’t capitalize.

“I prefer offensive football, but in this match, we created more opportunities and we defended well,” Bielsa said through an interpreter. “We did the things necessary to succeed at this level.”

Uruguay led 3-1 after three rounds of the shootout, thanks to goalkeeper Sergio Rochet’s save against Éder Militão and Douglas Luiz hitting the post. Brazil’s Alisson Becker saved José María Giménez’s shot to keep Brazil in the game, but Ugarte’s successful penalty secured Uruguay’s advancement.

“If you ask me if I’m happy that we only created three goal-scoring opportunities, then no,” Bielsa said. “But our opponent only had two goal-scoring opportunities. We had to work hard to create our opportunities… but that was satisfactory to us.”

Uruguay will face Colombia in the semifinals on Wednesday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, following Colombia’s 5-0 victory over Panama, extending their unbeaten streak to 27 matches. Defending champion Argentina will play against Canada in the other semifinal on Tuesday in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with the final set for July 14 in Miami Gardens.

Brazil played without Real Madrid star Vinícius Júnior, who was suspended after accumulating two yellow cards, and Neymar, who has been sidelined since tearing a knee ligament last fall during a World Cup qualifier loss to Uruguay. This was Uruguay’s first win over Brazil in 13 meetings since 2001, and they have now beaten Brazil in back-to-back matches for the first time since 1992.

Seventeen-year-old Endrick made his first career start in place of Vinícius Júnior but couldn’t lift Brazil’s offense. Brazil scored just one goal in their other three Copa America matches, excluding a 4-1 win over Paraguay, and the Seleção exited the tournament despite never trailing.

“There were positives in every match,” Brazil coach Dorival Júnior said through an interpreter. “It’s only natural after a match like this one that something we’d consider positive is ruled out. We didn’t perform at a high technical level, but I don’t throw out any of the matches. There was dedication, fighting spirit. It was always a courageous team. I believe we had more positives than negatives. The fact we didn’t seize (the opportunity) despite outnumbering (Uruguay) will be analyzed.”

Uruguay advanced to the Copa America semifinals for the first time since winning the tournament in 2011 and knocked Brazil out for the first time in four tries since 1995.

Both teams played cautiously and contentiously from the start. During a stoppage in the 17th minute, Ronald Araújo shoulder-checked Endrick to the ground from behind while the teenager complained about an earlier non-call. Raphinha responded by knocking down Araújo, but order was restored.

Araújo, the oft-injured Barcelona defender, left the game with an apparent injury to his right leg in the 31st minute, which Bielsa later described as a muscle injury.

After 35 minutes with few scoring opportunities, the teams traded their best chances 35 seconds apart. Darwin Núñez missed an unobstructed header in Brazil’s box, followed by Rochet stopping Raphinha at close range.

Nández, a veteran who recently moved to the Saudi Pro League from Cagliari, was sent off after video review of his overzealous, straight-legged tackle on Rodrygo, whose right ankle buckled on contact.

Bielsa then substituted star Liverpool striker Núñez, opting for a defensive strategy that carried Uruguay through to penalty kicks. Endrick created Brazil’s best chance in the 84th minute, but Rochet smothered his shot.

The match was played in air-conditioned comfort at the Las Vegas Raiders’ home stadium, with 113-degree Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) heat outside. The crowd included NBA stars Joel Embiid and Devin Booker, who watched from Vinícius Júnior’s box.

Source: AP