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Canada beat Venezuela on penalties to move into Copa América semi-finals

It was a night to remember for Canada
It was a night to remember for CanadaReuters
Canada will face defending Copa América winners Argentina in the semi-finals of this year’s competition after defeating Venezuela 4-3 on penalties (1-1 after 90 minutes) at the AT&T Stadium.

Having sailed through the group stages with three consecutive wins, Venezuela began firmly on the front foot in Arlington. It took the in-form Salomon Rondon - already with two goals at the tournament - less than three minutes to force Canada keeper Maxime Crepeau into making a smart save.

However, against the run of play, the Canucks netted the game’s opening goal in the 13th minute. Moments after Jon Aramburu had prevented Jonathan David’s goalbound effort from crossing the line, the Lille forward delivered a pinpoint pass to the feet of Jacob Shaffelburg, allowing his fellow frontman to fire the ball past Rafael Romo and break the deadlock. 

The Nashville SC man nearly doubled his tally soon after but, on this occasion, Romo was equal to the attempt as he kept out the winger’s strike with a brilliant one-handed save.

With Canada now looking like they could add a second with every foray forward, the usually-reliable David uncharacteristically spurned a gilt-edged opportunity to give his team extra breathing space, placing a one-on-one effort the wrong side of the post.

Canada were on course to make the semi-finals on debut, but lingering fears about the fragility of their lead only grew when Cyle Larin launched his shot high into the stands when time was on his side.

Larin wasn’t made to wait long to rue that miss as, just beyond the hour mark, Venezuela equalised. From long range, Rondon spotted Crepeau in no-man’s land and subsequently lifted the ball over the keeper’s head into an empty net.

The match stats
The match statsStatsPerform

Determined to restore their lead, Canada almost did from the restart. Liam Millar, though, was left looking at the ground in bewilderment when Romo somehow got a touch on his attempt to keep things level.

Ultimately, the Canucks were unable to find a way past Romo, and the game was left to be decided by a penalty shootout.

Crepeau turned out to be Canada’s hero as he saved spot-kicks from Wilker Angel and Jefferson Savarino, before Ismail Ikone netted the winning spot-kick to send Marsch’s side through to the final four.

While Canada celebrate, Venezuela will be bitterly disappointed to lose in the cruellest of fashions, leaving them without a semi-final appearance at this tournament in over a decade.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Maxime Crepeau (Canada)

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