Venezuela wrote the second chapter in their Copa America Centenario Cinderella story on Thursday as they defeated Uruguay 1-0 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Salomon Rondon’s goal in the 36th minute put Venezuela one step closer to an improbable spot in the knockout round.
Uruguay created the first great scoring opportunity of the contest in the 31st minute, but Edinson Cavani wasted the chance as he whiffed on a shot on the left side of the penalty area.
Venezuela took the lead in the 36th minute by way of a rebound created by Alejandro Guerra’s shot from distance. Uruguay netminder Fernando Muslera tipped the shot off the top of the crossbar, but the ball bounced straight into the direction of Rondon.
Rondon, who led West Bromwich Albion in scoring this season, powered his attempt from the left side of the box into the right side of the net to put the 77th-ranked nation in FIFA in the lead.
Venezuela came close to extending the lead to two in the 68th minute, but Adalberto Penaranda sent a shot straight at Muslera on the counter.
Cavani almost leveled the match at one goal apiece in the latter stages of the second half, but he missed a wide-open attempt from the area near the penalty spot. A few minutes, the Uruguay forward tried to tap the ball in from close range, but his shot struck the chest of Venezuela goalkeeper Dani Hernandez.
Venezuela will play for first place in Group C on Monday against Mexico at NRG Stadium in Houston. Uruguay are on the brink of elimination. One of the favorites to win the tournament, Uruguay needs a favorable result in the Mexico-Jamaica match to stay alive in the competition.
MAN OF THE MATCH
After he entered the pitch in the eighth minute as an injury substitution, Alexander Gonzalez delivered a fine performance at right back for Venezuela. The 23-year-old, who plays for Huesca in the Spanish second division, was a part of a Venezuela back four that held firm against a dangerous Uruguay attack led by Cavani.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Rondon’s 36th-minute tally gave Venezuela all the confidence they needed to finish off three points. The goal made Rondon the first Venezuelan player to score at three different Copa Americas.
MATCH TO FORGET
Edinson Cavani‘s dreadful tournament continued on Thursday as he missed a few key opportunities to score in each half. The 29-year-old’s inability to finish put Uruguay on the brink of elimination.