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Copa Americas Cup

Estadio Defensores del Chaco (ATT 6,000) 21st July 2011 - Kick off 01:45

Paraguay Paraguay vs Venezuela Venezuela

Paraguay 0

J Santana (S/O 102)

ft

Venezuela 0

Paraguay win 5-3 on penalties

Paraguay book final berth

Shootout success seals spot in Copa America showpiece

Last Updated: 21/07/11 9:44am

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Paraguay will face Uruguay in Sunday's final

Paraguay will face Uruguay in Sunday's final

Paraguay overcame Venezuela 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out to book a date with Uruguay in the Copa America final.

Goalkeeper Justo Villar's save to deny Franklin Lucena proved the key moment in the shoot-out after a match Venezuela controlled for the most part ended goalless after extra time.

Venezuela struck the woodwork three times while Paraguay had Jonathan Santana sent off in extra-time, but still Gerardo Martino's side held on to ensure their place in Sunday's Buenos Aires showpiece.

Paraguay's progress, which was sealed by a Dario Veron penalty, means they have qualified for the final despite having not won a match without the aid of penalties in the tournament so far.

Martino's side were the clear favourites after knocking out Brazil in a shootout in the quarter-finals while Venezuela were playing in their first ever Copa America semi-final.

Reflexes

Cesar Farias' side therefore understandably made a nervy beginning and were indebted to the sharp reflexes of goalkeeper Renny Vega early on as he kept out Veron's unmarked header.

More casual defending allowed Nelson Haedo Valdez a sight on goal but he thrashed his effort well wide before the Paraguay striker saw a far better attempt turned aside by Vega.

Venezuela finally began to settle as the game reached the half-hour mark and had a goal chalked off on 35 minutes when Oswaldo Vizcaronndo headed past two team-mates who had drifted offside, although there was an argument they were not active in the play.

Venezuela then hit the woodwork for the first time just before the break when Alejandro Moreno headed against the frame before Salomon Rondon's follow-up was well saved by Villar.

That moment proved to be the highlight of the 90 minutes as the second period proved a dull affair as caution undermined both sides' play to prompt extra time.

After the lull of the second half Venezuela struck the woodwork twice more in the first five minutes of extra-time.

Dismissal

First Miku saw a curling effort hit the left-hand post before skipper Juan Fernando Arango struck the same part of the goal-frame with a free-kick that then somehow eluded two of his team-mates on the goalline.

Paraguay then had Santana sent off for a second caution just before half time in extra-time, and while they were rocking for the rest of the additional period they held on for penalties.

Villar then proved the hero as he saved Lucena's weak third penalty low to his right before Veron completed a faultless display from the spot to send the two-time champions through.

Paraguay's success was, however, marred by ugly scenes after the shoot-out when a mass brawl between players and officials of both teams broke out on the pitch.

Police and security staff took several minutes to bring calm to a situation which is likely to come under investigation from tournament organisers.

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