Venezuela 2 Chile 1: Underdogs earn semi-final place for the first time
By SPORTSMAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 2:01 AM on 18th July 2011
Venezuela reached the Copa America semi-finals for the first time as Oswaldo Vizcarrondo and Gabriel Cichero scored in each half either side of Humberto Suazo to beat much-fancied Chile 2-1.
The victors Venezuela, better known for baseball, are unbeaten in four games at the Copa America and have been the surprise team in a tournament full of upsets.
Pure delight: Venezuela are in the Copa America semi-finals for the first time
They will now face Paraguay on Wednesday, while Peru take on Uruguay in the other semi-final a day earlier.
Sunday's win was the first of the quarter-finals to be settled in normal time and following Brazil and Argentina's defeats, it is the first time in the tournament's history that all three group winners have failed to reach the final four.
Lifeline: Humberto Suazo's second half goal looked to have got Chile back in the hunt
Cichero scored the winner in the 81st minute after Chile had dominated the majority of second-half, the player find the net after Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had failed to control a free kick.
The set-piece was almost identical to the one from which Venezuela had taken a 35th-minute lead through Vizcarrondo's header after he cut across the area and to meet Juan Arango's cross. The shot beat Bravo just inside the post to his left.
Chile banged on the door from then on and eventually leveled the match in the 70th minute when Suazo drove in a shot off the underside of the crossbar following a pass from Barcelona-bound forward Alexis Sanchez.
Right on time: Gabriel Cichero showed a poachers instinct to prod his team into the final four
Sanchez had earlier had a header cleared off the line while Suazo had already hit the post and Jorge Valdivia the cross bar. Gary Medel also drew an excellent point-blank save from keeper Renny Vega.
Both teams finished with 10 players. Chile's Medel was sent off for his second yellow card in the 83rd, and Tomas Rincon - Venezuela's star man was shown a red card in injury time.
Argentina 1 Uruguay 1 (aet Uruguay win 5-4 on pens): Tevez penalty miss costs hosts place in semis
Paraguay 0 Brazil 0 (aet, Paraguay win 2-0 on penalties): Holders crash out in shootout
Copa America 2011: Keep track of the results and fixtures from Argentina