By Felipe Atra
For the first time in Venezuelan history, the selection "Vinotinto" comes to a Copa America semifinal. Venezuelans celebrate because they are among the top four South American teams when it comes to football. Chile, despite the great party of their home crowd, is eliminated. An exciting game that ended 2-1, this Sunday night, in San Juan.
A first half was played without great emotion. It was only two shots on goal for each side, but Venezuela was more efficient and able to score. At 34 minutes, Arango launched a free kick from the right and the defender, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo headed to the back of the net, scoring the first goal.
In the second step, Chile played more offensively, and bet on Valdivia, who entered the range to organize the midfield and create the plays. The change took effect and raised Chile in the match. At the first opportunity, Isla headed the ball past the Venezuela goalkeeper, but the quarterback took over the line. Following the play, Suazo shot but the ball stopped at the bar.
The pressure continued for Chile, Valdivia had another opportunity in the second half. Two minutes later, player #10 for Chile, once again hit the crossbar. Borghi felt the momentum of his players and the defensive posture of Venezuela.
At 24 minutes, Chile tied, after so many dangerous plays, with player # 9, Suazo. The attacker got into the box, straightened and hit hard, again, the ball hit the crossbar, but this time it fell into the goal. A beautiful shot, nice goal!
The Chilean fans gave a show in the stands and the team responded on the pitch. The game was won on emotion. Chile continued in the match but surprisingly, Venezuela, who rarely sought the attack in the second half, scored the winning goal. The goal that stamped the passport of Venezuela to proceed to the semifinals. In another free-kick from the right, Arango hit hard, the goalkeeper Claudio Bravo failed and dropped the ball into the area, Gabriel Cichero pushed the rebound into the back of the net, at 35 minutes.
The excitement continued two minutes later, and Medel got expelled, but even with one player less, Chile almost reached the equalizer. Vidal hit and once again, the hero of the game, Cichero took over the line.
This was the last quarter-final duel. Venezuela, classified, will face Paraguay, who beat Brazil on penalties. The match will be Wednesday, July 20, at 21.45 (00.45 GMT), in Mendoza. On the other hand, Uruguay and Peru fight for another spot in the finals.
CHILE 1 X 2 VENEZUELA
Stadium: Estadio del Bicentenario, San Juan, Argentina; Referee: Carlos Vera (EQU); Goals: Humberto Suazo (69’) (Chile); Oswaldo Vizcarrondo (34’), Gabriel Cichero (80’) (Venezuela); Yellow Card: Mauricio Isla (26’), Gary Medel (40’), Pablo Contreras (46’), Arturo Vidal (79’) (Chile); César Eduardo González (36’) (Venezuela); Red Card: Gary Medel (82’) (Chile); Tomás Rincón (93’) (Venezuela).
CHILE: 1- Claudio Bravo, 5- Pablo Contreras, 3- Waldo Ponce, 18- Gonzalo Jara (22-Esteban Paredes, 60’), 4- Mauricio Isla, 17- Gary Medel, 6- Carlos Carmona (10-Jorge Valdivia, 46’), 8- Arturo Vidal, 11- Luis Jiménez (19-Carlos Muñoz, 83’), 7- Alexis Sanchéz and 9- Humberto Suazo. Coach: Claudio Borghi.
VENEZUELA: 1- Renny Vega, 16- Roberto Rosales, 20- Grenddy Perozo, 4- Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, 6- Gabriel Cichero, 8- Tomás Rincón, 14- Franklin Lucena, 11- César Eduardo González (15-Alejandro Moreno, 89’), 18- Juan Arango, 7- Miku (23-Salomón Rondón, 59’) and 9- Giancarlo Maldonado (13-Luis Seijas, 63’). Coach: César Farías.