Breaking News: Paraguay beat Venezuela 5-3 in a penalty shoot out, after the sides played out a goalless draw, in the Copa America semi-final, with keeper Justo Villar once agains the hero for Paraguay.
Paraguay and Venezuela are set to meet again, on Wednesday, July 20, in the Copa America, this time in the semi-finals. They first met in a Group B match that ended in 3-3 draw after Paraguay led 3-1 at a stage.
Rondon gave Venezuela an early lead on five minutes, and thereafter it was Paraguay all the way upto the 86th minute, when Cristian Miguel Riveros put them 3-1 ahead. Earlier, Antolin Alacaraz had helped his side draw level with a 33rd minute goal, and 30 minutes later, Lucas Ramon Barrios made it 2-1.
If Paraguay thought they had won the match, Venezuela made them think again, when Miku’s strike reduced the margin to 3-2, and that was in the last minute of regulation time. There was more drama to come, and Grendy Perozo provided it, when he brought Venezuela level on 3-3, two minutes into injury time.
In their quarter-finals, Paraguay beat Brazil 2-0 in a penalty shoot out that followed a goalless draw, while Venezuela beat Chile 2-1, in theirs, to set up the semi-final match between the sides.
For Paraguay, 23-year old Estigarribia was the most impressive player, in the quarter-finals, and Dani Alves had his hands full keeping the midfielder in check. He is likely to provide the attacking thrust in the semi-finals, and Venezuela will need to control the midfield if they are not to be subdued by the Paraguayan winger.
For Venezuela, Juan Fernando Aranjo’s reputation as his country’s best player ever goes before him, and the Venezuelan skipper could prove the vital difference between the two sides, on Wednesday night. Rival defences have found Aranjo hard to control and it could be Paraguay’s turn to feel the heat, in the semi-finals.
As impressive as Paraguay have been in their last few games, they have been found to lack ambition and the ability to finish the job. That said, the squad have been playing as a cohesive unit and should prove a mite too strong for a resolute Venezuela.
Paraguay also have an additional incentive to win this match and go on to win the Copa America: Larissa Riquelme. (Click here to find out more).
Paraguay’s probable eleven: Justo Villar, Aureliano Torres, Paulo Cesar Da Silva, Dario Anastacio Veron, Antolin Alcaraz, Marcelo Alejandro Estigarribia, Néstor Ezequiel Ortigoza, Cristian Miguel Riveros, Enrique Daniel Vera, Roque Santa Cruz, Lucas Ramón Barrios
Venezuela’s probable eleven: Renny Vicente Vega, Gabriel Cichero, Gabriel Cichero, Oswaldo, Vizcarrondo, Roberto Rosales, Yohandry Orozco, Giacomo di Giorgi, Tomás Eduardo Rincón, Alexander David González, Rondón
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An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.