COPA AMERICA

Mundialista Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina

Referee: Francisco Chacón Gutiérrez

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 0

FT

Paraguay 0-0 Venezuela

Paraguay booked their place in the Copa America final for the first time in 32 years after a penalty shootout win over Venezuela.

Goalkeeper Justo Villar's save to deny Franklin Lucena proved the key moment in

the shootout after a match Venezuela controlled for the most part ended goalless

after extra time.

Venezuela struck the woodwork three times while Paraguay had Jonathan Santana

sent off in extra-time, but still Gerardo Martino's side held on to ensure their

place in Sunday's Buenos Aires showpiece against Uruguay.

Paraguay's progress, which was sealed by a Dario Veron penalty, means they have

qualified for the final despite having not won a match without the aid of

penalties in the tournament so far.

Martino's side were the clear favourites after knocking out Brazil in a

shootout in the quarter-finals while Venezuela were playing in their first ever

Copa America semi-final.

Cesar Farias' side therefore understandably made a nervy beginning and were

indebted to the sharp reflexes of goalkeeper Renny Vega early on as he kept out

Veron's unmarked header.

More casual defending allowed Nelson Haedo Valdez a sight on goal but he

thrashed his effort well wide before the Paraguay striker saw a far better

attempt turned aside by Vega.

Venezuela finally began to settle as the game reached the half hour and had a

goal chalked off on 35 minutes when Oswaldo Vizcaronndo headed past two

team-mates who had drifted offside, although there was an argument they were not

active in the play.

Venezuela then hit the woodwork for the first time just before the break when

Alejandro Moreno headed against the frame before Salomon Rondon's follow-up was

well saved by Villar.

That moment proved to be the highlight of the 90 minutes as the second period

proved a dull affair as caution undermined both sides' play to prompt extra

time.

After the lull of the second half Venezuela struck the woodwork twice more in

the first five minutes of injury time.

First Miku saw a curling effort hit the left-hand post before skipper Juan

Fernando Arango struck the same part of the goal-frame with a free-kick that

then somehow alluded two of his team-mates on the goalline.

Paraguay then had Santana sent off for a second caution just before half time

in extra-time, and while they were rocking for the rest of the additional period

they held on for penalties.

Villar then proved the hero as he saved Lucena's weak third penalty low to his

right before Veron completed a faultless display from the spot to send the

two-time champions through.

Paraguay's success was, however, marred by ugly scenes after the shootout when a mass brawl between players and officials of both teams broke out on the pitch.

Police and security staff took several minutes to bring calm to a situation which is likely to come under investigation from tournament organisers.