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Penalty Pain for Brazil

Five-time world champion loses to Uruguay in Copa America quarters

Penalty Pain for Brazil
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 Uruguay players celebrate after winning their match against Brazil

LAS VEGAS: Marcelo Bielsa knew what the world’s reaction would be after Uruguay and Brazil grinded, scrapped and shoved their way through a Copa America quarterfinal match with 41 fouls, four shots on target and no goals in open play.

Bielsa knows the beautiful game wasn’t so attractive Saturday night, but the famously inventive coach now running Uruguay’s bench only cared about the celebrations back home and in the Vegas stands when La Celeste picked up a landmark win.

Manuel Ugarte scored the decisive goal in the fifth round of the shootout and Uruguay advanced to the Copa America semifinals with a 4-2 penalty kick victory after the teams played to a scoreless draw.

Uruguay and Brazil played a bruising, choppy match with plenty of rough stuff, but little of the impressive soccer for which both South American powerhouses are known.

After the third penalty shootout in four Copa America quarterfinal matches, Uruguay advanced to face Colombia in the semifinals on Wednesday night in Charlotte, North Carolina. Colombia routed Panama 5-0 earlier Saturday, extending its unbeaten streak to 27 consecutive matches.

Defending champion Argentina faces Canada in the other semifinal Tuesday in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The final is on July 14 in Miami Gardens.

Brazil played without Real Madrid star Vinicius J nior, who watched from the stands under suspension after accumulating two yellow cards. The Selecao already were without Neymar, who hasn’t played since tearing a knee ligament last fall during Brazil’s loss to Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier.

That victory was Uruguay’s first over Brazil in 13 meetings since 2001, but Bielsa’s group has now beaten Brazil in back-to-back matches for the first time since 1992.

Endrick made his first career start in place of Vinicius Junior, but the 17-year-old phenomenon headed to Real Madrid later this month couldn’t shake Brazil from its offensive funk. Except for a 4-1 win over overmatched Paraguay, Brazil scored one combined goal and earned just one victory in its other three Copa America matches and the Selecao is headed home despite never trailing in the tournament.

“There were positives in every match,” coach Dorival Junior said through an interpreter. “It’s only natural after a match like this one that something we’d consider positive is ruled out. I’m aware of that. We didn’t perform at a high technical level, but I don’t throw out any of the matches. There was dedication, fighting spirit. It was always a courageous team. I believe we had more positives than negatives. The fact we didn’t seize (the opportunity) despite outnumbering (Uruguay) will be analyzed.”

Uruguay advanced to the Copa America semifinals for the first time since winning the tournament in 2011, and it knocked Brazil out for the first time in four tries since 1995.

Both teams played cautiously and contentiously from the start. During a stoppage in the 17th minute, Ronald Araujo shoulder-checked Endrick to the ground from behind while the teenager complained about an earlier non-call. Raphinha responded by knocking down Araujo, but order was restored.

Agencies
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