Canada beats Venezuela in extra round of penalty kicks, reaches semifinals in 1st Copa America


ARLINGTON, Texas — Canada hasn’t scored much on the way to the semifinals of its first Copa America.

Don’t look for apologies from American-born coach Jesse Marsch.

Ismaël Koné scored in the sixth round of the shootout right after a third save by Maxime Crépeau and Canada moved on with a victory over Venezuela on Friday night.

The Canadians won 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw in the quarterfinals, keeping Venezuela from advancing to the Copa America semifinals for the first time since 2011.

Just the fourth team to advance out of group play by scoring just one goal, Canada is moving on again following a 0-0 draw against Chile that sent it to the elimination round.

“People will talk about should we score more goals or whatever,” Marsch said. “We should score more goals. But those are two pretty strong performances against very good opponents. You can see that this team is building.”

Jacob Shaffelburg scored in the 13th minute for Canada before Salomón Rondón got the equalizer in the 64th minute for Venezuela.

The victory earned 48th-ranked Canada a rematch with Lionel Messi and Argentina, the world No. 1 and defending Copa America champion, on Tuesday night at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Argentina beat Canada 2-0 in a group play opener.

Each team scored three times in the five rounds of the shootout, forcing the extra session.

After Crépeau silenced the pro-Venezuelan crowd of 51,080 at the home of the Dallas Cowboys by stopping Jhonder Cádiz, Koné eased his shot past Rafael Romo for the win.

“I heard some of the guys saying afterward I should have had him shoot earlier because he’s got ice in his veins,” Marsch said of the 22-year-old. “They were right. Probably should have had him shoot earlier. But when we needed him, he stepped up.”

With 54th-ranked Venezuela trailing 1-0, Jon Aramburu sent a long pass from his own penalty box, leaving just Rondón and Moïse Bombito battling for the loose ball near midfield.

Just as Rondón gained possession, Crépeau realized he was too far out and sprinted toward his net. It was too late. Rondón’s lofted shot over the scrambling Crépeau bounced 2 yards in front of the net and in.

Shaffelburg scored on an assist from Jonathan David after David scored Canada’s previous goal in a 1-0 victory over Peru on a helper from Shaffelburg, who right-footed a pass from David between the right post and Romo.

After scoring, Schaffelburg held over his head the No. 17 jersey of Tajon Buchanan, who broke the tibia in his lower left leg in practice three days before the meeting with Venezuela.

Rondón had two early chances on headers turned away, and it wasn’t long after his goal that Shaffelburg took another dangerous shot from just inside the penalty box that Romo deflected away.

Before Rondón’s equalizer, Eduard Bello redirected a corner kick from across the toward the net, but the ball landed on top of the net after a leaping deflection from Crépeau.

Venezuela is in position to be a first-time qualifier for the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. A World Cup-high nine games will be at AT&T Stadium.

But La Vinotinto fell short in trying to reach the final four of Copa America for just the second time. Venezuela finished fourth 13 years ago.

“I think that we need to continue working and to set an objective for ourselves,” Venezuela coach Fernando Batista said through a translator. “This is a long process. We have a huge dream that we’re going for. All Venezuelans want to qualify for the World Cup, and the Copa America gave us the possibility of strengthening our squad.”

Not long after Rondón’s goal, Liam Millar got a shot past Romo, but it went wide right. Millar had Canada’s first miss of the shootout, sending a shot way over the crossbar right after Yangel Herrera was wide left for Venezuela.

The teams traded misses again in the fourth round of the shootout before a pair of makes set up the extra session.

“We were the better team,” Marsch said. “We deserved to win that match. The penalties, it’s most a flip of the coin. But we were the better team on the day.”

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AP Copa America coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/copa-america



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