LA PLATA - Holders Brazil were
held 0-0 by Venezuela in their opening Copa America Group B
match on Sunday after being denied a possible penalty and seeing
Alexandre Pato hit the bar.
"This is the first chapter of something historic and we're
going to be talked about a lot," Venezuela striker Nicolas Fedor
said after his side celebrated the draw like a victory.
Venezuela survived a controversial decision from Bolivian
referee Raul Orosco when Brazil looked to have earned a penalty
for handball near the end of the first half.
Goalkeeper Renny Vega parried a shot and Robinho, following
through, hit the rebound on target. Defender Oswaldo
Vizcarrondo, scrambling back, slipped as he tried to block the
ball with his body.
The ball appeared to hit his upper arm before bouncing out,
with a corner given.
Brazil dominated the first half and striker Pato blasted a
shot against the bar in the 38th minute and had three other
efforts on target.
The Brazilians constantly stretched the Venezuela defence
with Neymar out wide and linking with full-back Andre Santos on
the left, while Daniel Alves pressed forward on the right and
Robinho looked for openings through the middle.
Venezuela were more enterprising in the second half and the
match became more even with half chances at both ends but none
Just before the hour, left-back Gabriel Cichero put in a
cross for the head of striker Nicolas Fedor which goalkeeper
Julio Cesar, one of Brazil's few survivors from last year's
World Cup side, just beat him to.
Then striker Salomon Rondon, sent away by a fine through
ball from Arango, might have passed inside to the unmarked Fedor
but instead tried to go round Lucio on the left and ended up
getting booked for a dive.
Julio Cesar had to deal with a couple of shots on target,
something he did not have in the first half, while Brazil's
attacks continued to lack enough clarity needed to breach the
"I think there are no longer any dumb teams. This is 11
against 11 and everyone has a chance," Julio Cesar told
It was the second match in the tournament's first three days
in which favourites were held to draws after hosts Argentina had
to come from behind to hold Bolivia 1-1 on Friday.
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