Tense Encounter Ends in Upset: Uruguay Downs Brazil on Penalties to Reach Copa America Semis

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Preeti Bali / 6:33 am / July 8, 2024

Uruguay defied the odds to book their place in the Copa America semi-finals after edging past arch-rivals Brazil 4-2 on penalties following a goalless draw on Saturday. The match, played in Las Vegas, was a far cry from the beautiful game expected between these South American giants. A poor pitch and a whopping 41 fouls, the highest in the tournament so far, contributed to a frustrating display for both sides.

Limited Chances, High Tensions

The first half offered a glimmer of hope with both Darwin Nunez for Uruguay and Raphinha for Brazil creating decent chances. However, neither managed to convert, setting the tone for a tense and low-scoring encounter. Marcelo Bielsa’s Uruguay employed their trademark tenacity, disrupting Brazil’s rhythm with constant pressure and a healthy dose of fouls. Facing a youthful Brazilian side missing the suspended Vinicius Junior, Uruguay looked to tire their opponents down.

Red Card Alters Uruguay’s Strategy

Uruguay’s strategy took a hit with Nahitan Nandez’s red card in the 74th minute. From then on, their focus shifted to preserving the draw and taking the game to penalties, a tactic that ultimately proved successful.

Penalty Drama Sends Uruguay Through

The penalty shootout was a tense affair. After Federico Valverde converted Uruguay’s first kick, Sergio Rochet saved Eder Militao’s effort for Brazil. A missed penalty by Douglas Luiz and a superb save by Alisson Becker kept the drama alive. However, Manuel Ugarte stepped up to score the decisive penalty, sending Uruguay into the last four and leaving Brazil to contemplate a disappointing quarter-final exit.

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