Late equalizer leaves Mexico top over Venezuela

Late equalizer leaves Mexico top over Venezuela

Late equalizer leaves Mexico top over Venezuela

File photo

‘Houston, we have a problem’, must have been what the partisan 67,000-plus crowd was thinking at the NRG Stadium before Mexico scored a late equalizer against Venezuela to go top of Group C, only ahead on goal difference. That leveler will prove crucial as it almost certainly means it is Venezuela that will be facing world’s number one side, Argentina, in the quarterfinals of the Copa America Centenario.

Venezuela may be the underdogs of the tournament, they literally are the lowest seeded team in the cup competition, but Los Criollos are certainly no pushovers. Rafael Dudamel’s side dispatched Jamaica, took out Uruguay and, today morning, halted Mexico’s winning streak at 11. Argentina, you’d better be watching.

The Mexicans packed at the NRG must have expected a victory. It was ‘home turf’ after all. Venezuela did not follow the script. And what a sumptuous opener did they score, in the 10thminute. It was a free-kick. Midfielder Alejandro Guerra whipped the ball into the box, forward Christian Santos connected with a header and central defender Jose Manuel Velasquez finished it off with an overhead kick.

El Tri were stunned. The supporters were in disbelief. Mexico mounted some pressure, but their finishing could only find the hands of Venezuelan keeper Dani Hernandez. Frustration was increasing, and it nearly came to the boil in the 51st minute when El Tri players wanted Creoles left back Rolf Feltscher sent off for a foul on Hirving Lozano.

In the 74th minute, Dani Hernandez made a fantastic quick double save to deny Diego Reyes and Hector Moreno a certain equalizer, but could do nothing six minutes later. Porto midfielder, Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona, went on a superb solo effort past five Venezuelan players and smashed the ball past Dani for the long awaited Mexican goal. That was a relief to anyone Mexico.

Elsewhere, the dead rubber of the group saw Uruguay get a consolation 3-0 victory over Jamaica at the Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California. Goals from Abel Hernandez and Matias Corujo, sandwiching a Je-Vaughn Watson own goal, were enough for Los Charruas, as the Reggae Boyz went back to Kingston, Jamaica pointless.

You can watch all Copa America Centenario matches LIVE ONLY on StarTimes.

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