Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Venezuela 1-1 Canada (aet, 3-4 pens): Kone penalty heroics earn Marsch landmark win in Copa classic

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Jul 2024

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Ismael Kone sent Canada to their first Copa America semi-final as they overcame Venezuela 4-3 in a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw in Texas.

Jacob Shaffelburg opened the scoring for Canada, only for Salomon Rondon to net a stunning long-range equaliser to take the quarter-final the distance.

With 32 shots shared between the two sides, penalties would decide who would face Argentina at the MetLife Stadium next week.

The decisive miss came from Wilker Angel, with Kone’s stuttering run up allowing him to coolly slot the ball beyond Rafael Romo to see Canada become the fourth CONCACAF team to reach the semi-finals of the competition.

Despite the nerves of playing in their first-ever knockout fixture at the Copa America, it was Canada who would strike the early blow in the contest.

Having seen appeals for a penalty waved away moments earlier, Shaffelburg dusted himself down to open the scoring, squeezing home Jonathan David’s cross at the near post in the 13th minute.

Jesse Marsch’s side had opportunities to double their advantage, as Shaffelburg saw his effort saved while David fluffed his lines with only Romo to beat as a pulsating first half came to a close.

Canada’s dominance continued after the break but Cyle Larin was unable to hit the target, and their wastefulness in front of goal was punished spectacularly.

A long ball up front saw Rondon win a tussle with Moise Bombito, taking aim from just inside the Canada half to lob Maxime Crepeau for a goal of the tournament contender.

David continued to threaten for Canada, chipping the ball in behind for Tani Oluwaseyi who could only find the roof of the net in the final chance of normal time.

Both sides would miss two spot-kicks as the encounter reached sudden death, but Angel saw his effort saved by Crepeau, handing the responsibility over to Kone, who clinched a landmark victory for Marsch’s side.

Venezuela’s young guns can be proud of their efforts

Fernando Batista can count his team unlucky following their gut-wrenching exit from the tournament, but his young squad can take pride in their performances at the tournament.

Venezuela battled an onslaught of Canada pressure, but fought back with their own attacking talents, with Rondon’s strike their fourth consecutive goal at the Copa America, their longest run of games with a goal in the competition since a run of five games in June 2015.

However, hopes of reaching a first Copa America semi-final since 2011 were dashed.

Nevertheless, Venezuela can leave the tournament with their heads held high, having equalled their highest goal tally (seven) in a single edition of the competition.

Canada through, but must improve in front of goal

Marsch said he wanted to build something special with Canada, and his side’s run in the Copa America has shown they have the ability to do so ahead of the 2026 World Cup.

Canada started brightly through Shaffelburg’s early strike, with all three of his international strikes coming in knockout matches. However, it should have been more.

From their 16 shots on goal, only seven were on target, with 12 of their efforts coming inside the box. Marsch’s side underperformed their expected goals (xG) by 0.84, and had four total big chances compared to Venezuela’s 0.

Despite those underlying statistics, Canada will be hopeful of keeping their fairytale run in the competition alive against Argentina, who they lost to in the group stage of the competition.

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