Canada defeated Venezuela in an additional round of penalty kicks, advancing to the semifinals in their first Copa America

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Venezula players celebrates after a goal in the second half

Canada has not scored many goals on their way to the semifinals of their first Copa America. Coach Jesse Marsch doesn’t feel the need to apologize for that.

Ismaël Koné scored in the sixth round of the penalty shootout right after Maxime Crépeau made a crucial save, sending Canada through with a victory over Venezuela on Friday night.

Canada won 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the quarterfinals, preventing Venezuela from reaching the Copa America semifinals for the first time since 2011.

Despite advancing from the group stage with only one goal scored, Canada progressed again after a goalless draw against Chile led them to the knockout round.

“People might say we should be scoring more goals,” Marsch commented. “And they’re right. But those were two strong performances against tough opponents. It shows this team is growing.”

Jacob Shaffelburg scored in the 13th minute for Canada, countered by Salomón Rondón’s equalizer for Venezuela in the 64th minute.

Rafael Romo fails to save agoal

This victory sets up a rematch for the 48th-ranked Canada against Lionel Messi and Argentina, the top-ranked team and defending Copa America champions, on Tuesday night at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Argentina had defeated Canada 2-0 in the group stage opener.

Both teams scored three times in the initial five rounds of the shootout, forcing an additional round.

After Crépeau saved Jhonder Cádiz’s penalty, Koné calmly scored the decisive kick past Rafael Romo for the win.

“Some of the guys said afterward that I should have had him shoot earlier because he’s so composed,” Marsch said about Koné. “They were right. Maybe I should have. But he stepped up when it counted.”

With Venezuela trailing 1-0, Jon Aramburu made a long pass from his own penalty area, leading to a battle for the ball between Rondón and Moïse Bombito near midfield.

Just as Rondón took control of the ball, Crépeau realized he was too far out and rushed back towards his goal. But he couldn’t reach in time. Rondón’s lobbed shot over the scrambling Crépeau bounced a couple of yards in front of the net and went in.

Shaffelburg scored with an assist from Jonathan David, who had scored Canada’s previous goal in a 1-0 win against Peru with help from Shaffelburg. Shaffelburg used his right foot to slot a pass from David between the right post and Romo.

After scoring, Shaffelburg raised Tajon Buchanan’s No. 17 jersey over his head. Buchanan had fractured his lower left leg in practice three days before the Venezuela match.

Rondón had two early header chances that were saved, and soon after his goal, Shaffelburg took another dangerous shot just inside the penalty box, which Romo deflected away.

Venezula players celebrates after a goal

Before Rondón’s goal, Eduard Bello redirected a corner kick towards the net, but Crépeau leaped and deflected the ball onto the top of the net.

Venezuela is aiming to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 2026, which will be hosted in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. AT&T Stadium will host a record nine matches.

However, La Vinotinto fell short in their attempt to reach the Copa America semifinals for only the second time. They finished fourth in the tournament 13 years ago.

“I believe we need to keep working and set goals for ourselves,” said Venezuela coach Fernando Batista. “This is a long process. We have a big dream to achieve. Every Venezuelan wants to qualify for the World Cup, and the Copa America has helped us strengthen our team.”

Shortly after Rondón’s goal, Liam Millar had a shot that went wide right past Romo. Millar was the first to miss in Canada’s shootout, sending his shot well over the crossbar, right after Yangel Herrera missed wide left for Venezuela.

Both teams missed again in the fourth round of the shootout before two successful kicks led to the extra round.

“We were the better team,” Marsch said. “We deserved to win that match. Penalties are mostly a toss-up. But we were superior today.”


By Christopher Kamila

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