VAR denies Brazil as Venezuela battle to draw

Salvador, Brazil, 20 June, 2019: Brazil were held to a 0-0 draw against Venezuela in the Copa America as a late strike from Philippe Coutinho was disallowed after a controversial VAR decision.

Coutinho thought he had fired Brazil into the quarter-finals in the 87th minute when he bundled home a finish from Everton Soares’ driving run down the left wing at Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova Tuesday.

But for the second time in the match, Chilean referee Julio Bascunan ruled out the Brazilian goal after being alerted to an infringement by the video assistant referee.

The goal appeared to have been disallowed due to a touch by Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino, although it was not clear that Firmino had been offside as the ball grazed him on the way into the net.

Brazil left the field to boos but remain top of Group A with four points from two games, and one game to play.

Venezuela have two points from two games and will fancy their chances of advancing with their final game coming against Bolivia, who suffered their second straight defeat earlier Tuesday in a 3-1 loss to Peru.

Brazil, who had made hard work of beating Bolivia in their opener, once again struggled to find a creative spark against well-organized opponents.

Firmino was kept quiet by Venezuela’s defense with Yordan Osorio and Mikel Villanueva neutralizing the Liverpool striker.

The tale of the first half lay in the statistics from the opening 45 minutes, with Brazil recording only one shot on target despite enjoying 75 percent possession.

In fact, the best chance of the half fell to Venezuela, when Salomon Rondon headed Yangel Herrera’s cross just inches wide with Alisson beaten.

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