VAR denies Brazil victory over Venezuela; Peru beat Bolivia - GulfToday

VAR denies Brazil victory over Venezuela; Peru beat Bolivia

Soccer Brazil

Peru’s Jefferson Farfan (left) heads the ball to score past Bolivia’s goalkeeper Carlos Lampe during their Copa America group match in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse

Brazil were held to a 0-0 draw against Venezuela in the Copa America on Tuesday after a dramatic finale which saw a late Philippe Coutinho strike ruled out by VAR.

Bolivia scored their first goal in five games but it was not enough to give them their first point as Peru came from behind to win 3-1 in their Group A.

Coutinho thought he had fired Brazil into the quarter-finals in the 87th minute when he bundled home a finish from Everton Soares’ driving run down the left wing at Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova.

But for the second time in the match, Chilean referee Julio Bascunan ruled out a Brazilian goal after being alerted to an infringement by the VAR.

The goal appeared to have been disallowed due to a touch by Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino, although it was not clear that Firmino had been offside as the ball grazed him on the way into the net.

Brazil left the field to boos but remain top of Group A with four points from two games, and one game to play.

Venezuela have two points from two games and will fancy their chances of advancing with their final game coming against Bolivia, who suffered their second straight defeat earlier Tuesday in a 3-1 loss to Peru.

Brazil, who had made hard work of beating Bolivia in their opener, once again struggled to find a creative spark against well-organiswed opponents. Firmino was kept quiet by Venezuela’s defense with Yordan Osorio and Mikel Villanueva neutralizing the Liverpool striker.

The tale of the first half lay in the statistics from the opening 45 minutes, with Brazil recording only one shot on target despite enjoying 75 per cent possession.

In fact, the best chance of the half fell to Venezuela, when Salomon Rondon headed Yangel Herrera’s cross just inches wide with Alisson beaten. Firmino did get the ball in the Venezuela net in the 38th minute but the goal was disallowed after Bascunan ruled Villanueva had been fouled in the build-up.

Brazil left the field to loud boos and whistling, and manager Tite wasted no time in making a change at half-time, bringing on Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus for Richarlison.

Jesus made an instant impact looking lively down the left flank and curling a shot just wide of the post on 57 minutes.

Moments later Jesus looked to have fired Brazil into the lead. Once again the striker advanced menacingly on the Venezuela penalty area and unleashed a fierce low shot.

The ball deflected off Villanueva into the path of Firmino, who then squared for Jesus who continued his run. The striker took a touch and buried his finish as the home fans erupted.

But the festive atmosphere fell flat as the goal was referred to VAR, who promptly chalked the score off after ruling Firmino had been offside when he collected the ricochet.

A deflated Brazil took several minutes to regroup but grew increasingly desperate as valuable minutes ticked away and Venezuela held firm.

Jesus went close again in the 76th minute when Dani Alves whipped a cross into the six-yard box.

But again Venezuela’s defense was rock-solid, with Jesus bundled off the ball and unable to get a shot away.

Coutinho looked to have broken the deadlock three minutes from time, but VAR’s intervention rescued a precious point for Venezuela.

Fernandinho almost snatched victory with a header in the 10th minute of time added on, but his effort rolled just wide of the post.

Captain Paolo Guerrero and forward Jefferson Farfan each scored one and created another as Peru took a huge step towards qualifying for the quarter-finals with win.

Bolivia took the lead from the penalty spot when Marcelo Moreno sent goalkeeper Pedro Gallese the wrong way from 12 yards.

But Guerrero equalized before half-time and Farfan gave Peru a deserved lead before Edison Flores put the seal on Peru’s victory in stoppage time at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana stadium.

With four points from two games ahead of their final group encounter with hosts Brazil, Peru can rest assured that no team has ever failed to qualify for the knockout rounds with that total since the current 12-team format was adopted in 1993.

Bolivia face a must-win clash with Venezuela in their final game to stand any hope of reaching the quarter-finals.

Peru took control of the match early on with pacey right-winger Andy Polo carving out the opening chance, although his left-footed shot was tame and easily saved by Carlos Lampe.

Farfan earned a free-kick that he then fired high and wide on 20 minutes and at that time Peru had enjoyed 70 percent possession.

Agencies