Philadelphia (Pennsylvania): Salomon Rondon’s 36th minute goal put Venezuela on the cusp of a Copa America Centenario quarter-final appearance with a 1-0 win over Uruguay.
Venezuela have won back-to-back Copa America matches for the first time ever and defeated Uruguay for the first time since 2006.
Uruguay, the ninth-ranked team in the world, were eliminated from Copa America Centenario following their second consecutive defeat in the tournament.
Rondon was there to knock in a 59-yard attempt on goal from midfielder Alejandro Guerra, a shot so on-target that it forced Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera to tip the ball off the cross bar here on Thursday night. The rebound came to Rondon, who bounced the ball past Muslera.
Venezuela, the 77th-ranked team, was close to taking a two-goal lead in the 68th minute when Adalberto Penaranta broke free on a counter. But Muslera stopped his shot.
Uruguay had a few chances to score in the first half, all involving forward Edinson Cavani. He came close but didn’t convert, and trailed at halftime.
Cavani’s open shot went just wide in the 89th minute and Uruguay put on more pressure in the final minutes, but nearly conceded a second goal in second half stoppage time.
On a last-ditch equalising attempt, Uruguay summoned Muslera into the penalty area for a corner kick, but Venezuela cleared and caught a fast break, which saw Romulo Otero put his shot towards the empty net just inches wide in the game’s dying seconds.
Defender Maxi Pereira made his 113th national team appearance, becoming Uruguay’s all-time leader in appearances, surpassing Diego Forlan. Star striker Luis Suarez warmed up but was held out of the match due to injury.
Venezuela play Mexico on Monday in Houston. Uruguay and Jamaica meet on the same day in Santa Clara.