Paris: Salomon Rondon scored on a rebound after a shot from midfield struck the crossbar and Venezuela beat Uruguay 1-0 on Thursday to advance to the Copa America Centenario quarterfinals.
The West Bromwich striker scored in the 36th minute, after a shot from midfield by Alejandro Guerra was barely deflected by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and hit the crossbar. “Today we showed the Rocky we have inside,” Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel said. “That fighter who never gives up, who may go down, but gets up again.”
Venezuela won their first two games and leads Group C with six points. Uruguay have two losses and will be eliminated from the tournament if Mexico win or tie Jamaica in the late match in Pasadena, California.
It was Venezuela’s first win over Copa America against Uruguay, a team that has won the tournament a record 15 times. “The players always believed in themselves,” Dudamel said. “We asked them, you think we have the players to do it? And all of them said ‘yes’, without any hesitation.”
Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani missed several scoring chances, including a one-on-one against goalkeeper Jose Contreras in the 90th minute. Luis Suarez missed his second consecutive game for Uruguay with a hamstring injury. The Barcelona striker was injured in the Copa del Rey final.
“We didn’t play like a team that needs to get a good result,” said Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez. He added Suarez is not ready to play, and will probably miss Uruguay’s last group stage match on Monday against Jamaica. The two-time world champions might be eliminated by then.
“We want Suarez when he’s ready,” Tabarez said.