Uruguay beats Brazil 4-2 on penalties after scoreless draw, advances to Copa America semifinals


LAS VEGAS — Manuel Ugarte scored the winning goal in the fifth round of the shootout and Uruguay advanced to the Copa America semifinals with a 4-2 penalty kick victory over Brazil after the teams played to a scoreless draw Saturday night.

The teams combined for a tournament-high 41 fouls and just four shots on goal during a bruising, choppy match with little of the impressive soccer for which both South American powerhouses are known.

Uruguay’s Nahitan Nández was sent off after a red card in the 74th minute for a dangerous tackle on Rodrygo, but Brazil couldn’t break through its 10-man opponent in the ensuing 21 minutes.

Uruguay led 3-1 after three rounds of the shootout when goalkeeper Sergio Rochet stopped Éder Militão and Douglas Luiz hit the post. Alisson Becker saved José María Giménez’s shot in the fourth round to keep Brazil alive, but Ugarte banged home the clincher.

After the third penalty shootout in four Copa America quarterfinal matches, Uruguay advanced to face Colombia in the semifinals on Wednesday night in Charlotte, North Carolina. Colombia routed Panama 5-0 earlier Saturday, extending its unbeaten streak to 27 consecutive matches.

Defending champion Argentina faces Canada in the other semifinal Tuesday in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The final is July 14 in Miami Gardens.

Brazil played without Real Madrid star Vinícius Júnior, who watched from the stands under suspension after accumulating two yellow cards. The Seleção already are without Neymar, who hasn’t played since tearing a knee ligament last fall during Brazil’s loss to Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier.

That victory was Uruguay’s first over Brazil in 13 meetings since 2001, but famed coach Marcelo Bielsa’s Uruguay has now beaten Brazil in back-to-back matches for the first time since 1992.

Endrick made his first career start in place of Vinícius Júnior, but the 17-year-old phenomenon headed to Real Madrid later this month couldn’t shake Brazil from its offensive funk. Except for a 4-1 win over overmatched Paraguay, Brazil scored one combined goal in its other three Copa America matches — and the Seleção is headed home despite never trailing in the tournament.

Uruguay advanced to the Copa America semifinals for the first time since winning the tournament in 2011, and it knocked Brazil out of the tournament for the first time in four tries since 1995. La Celeste had been eliminated on penalty kicks following scoreless quarterfinal draws in each of the past two tournaments, but Bielsa’s club found a winning formula this time.

Uruguay got a strong performance from Rochet, who made three saves against Brazil after having to make only five total saves in Uruguay’s three group-stage victories.

Both teams played cautiously and contentiously from the start. During a stoppage in the 17th minute, Ronald Araújo shoulder-checked Endrick to the ground from behind while the teenager complained about an earlier non-call. Raphinha responded by knocking down Araújo, but order was restored.

Araújo, the oft-injured Barcelona defender, left the game with an apparent injury to his right leg in the 31st minute.

After 35 minutes with few scoring opportunities, the teams traded their best chances 35 seconds apart. Right after Darwin Núñez botched an unobstructed header deep in Brazil’s box, Raphinha was stopped at close range by Rochet.

Nández, a 28-year-old veteran who recently left Cagliari for the Saudi Pro League, was sent off after video review of his overzealous, straight-legged tackle on Rodrygo, whose right ankle buckled at contact.

Bielsa took off star Liverpool striker Núñez moments later, retreating into a defensive posture that got La Celeste to penalty kicks. Endrick created perhaps the strongest chance for Brazil in the 84th minute, but his shot was smothered by Rochet.

The teams played in air-conditioned comfort in the Las Vegas Raiders’ home stadium with 113-degree Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) heat outside. The crowd included NBA stars Joel Embiid and Devin Booker, who sat in Vinícius Júnior’s box.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/soccer



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