Venezuela are through to the Copa Amrica quarters after first win over Uruguay since 2006
A goal by Salomon Rondon gave Venezuela an upset 1-0 win over Uruguay in Philadelphia on Thursday that put them through to the Copa Amrica Centenario quarter-finals with the record 15-times champions dumped out in the group stages.
When midfielder Alejandro Guerra lobbed Fernando Muslera from more than 30 yards, the Uruguay goalkeeper chased back but only managed to tip the ball onto the bar and striker Rondon raced in to tap it into the net in the 36th minute.
Venezuela, who beat Jamaica 1-0 in their opening Group C match, now have six points, the same total as Mexico, who beat Uruguay 3-1 on Sunday and Jamaica on Thursday in Pasadena. Both sides have now qualified for the last eight but will play on Monday to see who advances as group winners.
For Venezuela, it was a first win in nine Copa Amrica meetings with Uruguay while Rondon became the first player from the country to score at three tournaments.
For Uruguay, defender Maxi Pereira won a record 113th cap, surpassing former striker Diego Forlan, at his fourth tournament. But there was little else to celebrate for one of the pre-tournament favourites against a side ranked No77 in the world who are currently bottom of South American qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
The Venezuelans overcame an early hiccup when right back Roberto Rosales was injured after seven minutes and had to be replaced by Alexander Gonzalez.
Uruguay, still without the injured Luis Suarez, made four changes from the team beaten by Mexico and had marginally the better of the opening half hour with midfielder Gaston Ramirez hitting the post.
But Rondons goal turned the tide and Muslera had to save sharply from Guerra in the 43rd minute.
The Uruguayans, who won their 15th title in Argentina in 2011, pushed Venezuela back in the second half but lacked finishing and Muslera again prevented them going further behind with a fine save from Adalberto Penaranda in the 68th. Edinson Cavani came close to equalizing in the dying minutes but was wide with one chance and had another saved by Dani Hernandez.
Venezuela, no longer the whipping boys of South American soccer, first reached the quarter-finals when they hosted the tournament in 2007 and got their best result four years later when they reached the last four.