Copa América - Poor Brazil shut out by Venezuela
Sun, 03 Jul 22:18:00 2011
A very poor Brazil side were held to an embarrassing goalless draw by Venezuela in their opening Group B match of the Copa America in Estadio Ciudad de La Plata.
Venezuela survived a controversial decision from Bolivian referee Raul Orosco when Brazil looked to have earned a penalty for handball near the end of the first half.
Goalkeeper Renny Vega parried a shot and Robinho, following through, hit the rebound on target. Defender Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, scrambling back, slipped as he tried to block the ball with his body. The ball appeared to hit his upper arm before bouncing out, with a corner given.
Brazil dominated the first half and striker Pato blasted a shot against the bar in the 28th minute and had three other efforts on target while Venezuela were more enterprising in the second half and the match became more even with half chances at both ends but none clear cut.
The five-times world champions started very positively as they attacked their opponents' penalty area in the first minute and were rewarded with a half-chance. Former Manchester City striker Robinho collected the ball on the edge of the area but, instead of passing to the many options he had to his left and right, he opted to shoot tamely towards goal.
Ten minutes later another half-chance was nearly converted. Santos striker Neymar received the ball on the 18 yard box and shifted the ball left. Andre Santos drilled the ball towards the near post but Robinho was unable to keep his effort down.
Brazil could have and perhaps should have taken the lead when Dani Alves surged down the right flank and squared for Lucas. The Liverpool player elected to leave the ball for the onrushing Pato who controlled expertly before rifling a shot towards goal. The goalkeeper Vega was beaten but the ball cannoned off the crossbar to safety.
Venezuela had the best opportunity of the second-half. With Ramires down, the underdogs broke down the right wing before shifting the ball into the centre and then out wide to the left. Captain Miku was unmarked in the area and after receiving the pass, he struck the ball first time, but his shot sailed wide.
"It's historic in terms of the Copa America. Brazil played well but we deserve praise for holding them," said Venezuela coach Cesar Farias.
"When we had the chance to play a bit we did and when we had to defend like gladiators we did that too."
It was the second match in the tournament's first three days in which favourites were held to draws after hosts Argentina had to come from behind to hold Bolivia 1-1 on Friday.
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