Brazil reach Copa America semi-finals after shootout win
Selecao see off 10-man Paraguay on spot-kicks after match ended goalless
|(Brazil win 4-3 on penalties)|
Brazil reached the last four of the Copa America on Friday morning (June 28, Singapore time) with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Paraguay, after their quarter-final in Porto Alegre ended 0-0.
Gabriel Jesus got the winning kick for Brazil, after Gustavo Gomez and Derlis Gonzalez missed for Paraguay. Roberto Firmino also placed his spot-kick wide for the hosts.
Brazil, who have yet to concede a goal in their first four games, will next face the winners of the quarter-final between Argentina and Venezuela in Belo Horizonte next Tuesday.
Jesus had missed a penalty against Peru in their last group game and said he went back to his tried-and-tested technique against Paraguay.
“In the last game, I didn’t look at the goalkeeper and I hit it hard straight away and the goalie made a good save,” he added.
“Today I did it my usual way, I looked calmly at the 'keeper and I could see him moving to the left and I side-footed it the other way.”
After a foul-strewn and unexciting first half, Brazil took control after Paraguay's Fabian Balbuena was sent off in the 58th minute for fouling Firmino, who was bearing down on goal.
The referee gave a penalty but changed it to a free-kick on the edge of the area after consulting the video assistant referee (VAR).
The sending-off then saw the home side lay siege to the Paraguayan goal but without joy, Everton seeing a shot deflected over the bar, Jesus putting a gilt-edged chance wide, and Willian hitting the post in the last minute.
“We created lots and lots of chances, the ball hit the woodwork, the goalkeeper worked miracles, but the fans helped us and we never gave up,” said midfielder Arthur.
“We know what football is like, it’s about small details, and we couldn’t win, but we felt the good energies and we managed to get through on penalties.”
Goalkeeper Alisson, who started his career in Porto Alegre, saluted his teammates.
“This is a team that deserved the win today,” said the Liverpool custodian.
“It was a draw but against a team that didn’t want to play unless it was on the counter-attack. We’ve gone up one step, two more to go to our objective, to be Copa America champions.”
In the other two quarter-finals, Colombia play Chile and Uruguay take on Peru. – REUTERS