CONCACAF: Uruguay outlasts Brazil in PKs to reach Copa semis


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With his club playing a man down for the final 21 minutes of regulation, Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet knew it was more imperative than ever to not allow a goal.

Not with a berth in the Copa America semifinals at stake. And not against fierce rival Brazil.

Rochet and the Uruguay defense didn’t buckle and Manuel Ugarte later booted the decisive penalty kick as the Uruguayans advanced to the semis by following up a scoreless tie in regulation with a 4-2 edge in penalties against Brazil on Saturday night at Las Vegas.

Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentancur and Giorgian de Arrascaeta also converted penalty kicks and Rochet made a key save in the shootout as Uruguay continues its quest for what would be a record 16th Copa America crown.

Uruguay will face Colombia in Wednesday’s semifinals at Charlotte. Colombia pounded Panama 5-0 earlier Saturday.

“The truth is that it was a tremendous happiness, a match of great tension, against a very tough rival, suffering in the last minutes with one man less,” Rochet said, “but we showed character despite the youth we have.”

Brazil was unable to prosper while owning that man advantage for 16 minutes in regulation and five in stoppage time ahead of the shootout.

Brazil trailed 1-0 in penalty kicks when Eder Militao had his attempt stopped by Rochet. Later, Brazil was behind 3-1 when Douglas Luiz hit the left goalpost.

Ugarte later drilled the match-winner past Brazil goalkeeper Alisson.

“The feeling is enormous because of what my country is,” Ugarte said. “We are very few and we represent them very well. We are very together and this step to the next round is incredible and indescribable.”

Andreas Pereira and Gabriel Martinelli converted penalty kicks for Brazil, which played without star Vinicius Junior, who was suspended for the match after getting two yellow cards during group play.

“Someone had to miss. One team has to win,” Brazil coach Dorival Junior said. “Unfortunately, we ended up being eliminated.”

A red card on Uruguay’s Nahitan Nandez opened the door for Brazil late in regulation.

Nandez was initially given a yellow card in the 71st minute for a takedown of Rodrygo in which his foot aggressively slid into the Brazilian’s right ankle. The play was reviewed and upgraded to a red card in the 74th minute.

Prior to the shootout, Uruguay had a 12-7 edge in shots, though Brazil put more on target (3-1) during what was a bitter setback. Brazil was just 1-0-2 in group play before its exit from the knockout stage.

“We all want this team to get back to where it once was,” Dorival Junior said. “There were positives during this period. The results weren’t what we wanted. I accept that and take responsibility. But I have no doubt that this team will grow from here.”

In the 84th minute, 17-year-old Endrick, who was starting in place of Vinicius Junior, delivered a long left-footed shot that was saved by Rochet.

Uruguay’s Darwin Nunez came up empty on two headers. The first, in the 18th minute, was cleared away by a Brazil defender. His 35th-minute opportunity sailed over the net.

Raphinha had a solid chance for Brazil just after Nunez’s second miss. He delivered a right-footed shot that Rochet knocked away with his hand.

Early in the second half, Valverde sent in a right-footer from outside the box that Alisson stopped.

–Field Level Media


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