LA PLATA - Paraguay, who did not have a
single shot on target in 120 minutes of a goalless Copa America
quarter-final, sent holders Brazil crashing out 2-0 on penalties
Brazil joined hosts Argentina, their rivals in the previous
two finals, in going out of the tournament at the same stage
after Argentina lost on penalties to Uruguay on Saturday.
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Brazil dominated the 120 minutes of play which ended 0-0,
creating a string of chances which Paraguay repelled with a mix
of stubborn defending, some luck and a man-of-the-match
performance from goalkeeper and captain Justo Villar.
The teams were down to 10 men each from the 13th minute of
extra-time after a scramble for the ball by several players on
one side of the pitch developed into a free-for-all with
Paraguay defender Antolin Alcaraz and Brazil midfielder Lucas
Leiva sent off.
The Brazilians, brilliant at times in open play, were dismal
in the shootout with Elano, Andres Santos and Fred all firing
their penalties wide while Villar saved from Thiago Silva.
Edgar Barreto missed Paraguay's first penalty but Marcelo
Estigarribia and Cristian Riveros converted theirs.
"It was a match dominated almost entirely by Brazil. We had
to take refuge a lot of the time at the back and, well, the
penalties are a lottery which we took well and they failed with
theirs," Villar said.
"You need more than will to win matches, you need goals and
all Brazil lacked was goals," Brazil coach Mano Menezes told a
"Our opponents have not won a match [at the tournament]," he
added after Paraguay qualified with three draws including 2-2
against Brazil in their group.
Brazil had the best moves of the first half. In the seventh
minute, Robinho ran from the right across to the left and fed
Pato whose pass back into the middle was only half-cleared with
Neymar volleying the ball just over the bar.
They should have scored close to the half hour when Paulo
Henrique Ganso passed forward to Robinho who threaded a good
ball out right to the unmarked Neymar whose low shot went just
outside the far post.
Left-back Andre Santos took a 33rd-minute free-kick, putting
it low into the edge of the six-yard box where centre-back Lucio
broke through but had his effort blocked by Villar.
Andre Santos shot over when set up by midfielder Ramires's
diagonal pass from deep on the right as the first half wound
Brazil got back to business right away in the second half as
Maicon set up Neymar for a shot that was scrambled away to
Maicon, whose shot was also blocked.
Ganso had a brilliant low shot saved by Villar at the base
of the near post in the 67th and five minutes later the
goalkeeper blocked a point-blank effort from Pato.
Pato looked set to score in the 82nd when put through by
Robinho but Villar blocked his effort and the striker headed the
rebound into the side-netting from a tight angle.
As Brazil continued to pound the Paraguay defence,
substitute Fred's header from a corner was cleared off the line
Two minutes from the end a shot by Barreto appeared to hit
Thiago Silva's arm as he blocked it and striker Nelson Haedo
Valdez also came close with a shot from outside the box.
Paraguay had their best of very few chances two minutes from
the end of extra-time but Haedo Valdez volleyed Estigarribia's
left cross wide of Julio Cesar's right-hand post.
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