Brazil secured their spot in the final first. Venezuela will be their rival on Sunday, earning their spot after a dramatic penalty shoot-out. Both teams will walk into the pitch on Sunday at 3:45 PM, aiming to take the gold medal of the Pan American Challenge home. The tournament started in October 3rd at the Colegio San José, in Chiclayo, 765 km north of Lima.
Typical of a Pan American tournament, the semifinals were thrilling. Venezuela and Guyana played with heart and soul, running in all sectors of the pitch, thus resulting in an open passionate match, with a continuous changing scoreboard.
Venezuela opened the scoreboard with Andy Adrián in the minute2, but 7 minutes later Robert France equalized. Cristian Vargas, best scorer of the tournament, scored giving the “Llaneros” (Venezuelan) the lead in minute 23. France obtained the parity in the first minute of the third quarter. Guyana celebrated when Aroydy Brandford scored, changing the scoreboard 3-2.
However, 6 minutes before the end of the match, the Venezuelan Aroydy Brandford defined the parity. The last few minutes before the end of the match were as dramatic as the minutes that followed, with both teams struggling to achieve the victory. After the 3-3 draw in regulation, the winner was defined by penalty shoot-out. It was so even, that 2 additional rounds were necessary.
On the seventh execution, José Oropeza scored, and in the next action, Venezuelan goalkeeper Jamarj Assanah saved, making the match 5-4 and gave Venezuela the joy of the victory.
“We’re happy. It was a very tough match, with a high flight team like Guyana. There’s still one more step to climb, and that’s the final. We’ll do our best,” said goalkeeper Benitez after the match.
BRAZIL RELIED ON THEIR EXPERIENCE
Earlier, Brazil settled in the finals after beating Uruguay 4-0, a tough result for the “Charruas” (Uruguayans) who played with big effort and even had opportunities to score. The Uruguayans knew they were facing a team who is not only preparing for the Olympic Games next year, but played in different important tournaments (including achieving a fourth place in the Pan American Games 2015 in Toronto)
Lucas Paixão opened the scoreboard in minute 27. This detail speaks by itself, Uruguay’s defense played well. Matheus Borges scored twice in minute 41 and minute 56, the other goal was scored by the captain of Brazil, André Patrocinio, sealing the victory for Brazil and the spot in the final.
“We wanted the final and we’ve achieved it. It was a difficult match. Uruguay was a good rival, but patience led us to find the spaces to score. Now, we still have the final to play, we’ll fight it with the same energy,” said Matheus Borges at the end of the match.
“We’re upset, we wanted more. However, from a distance we faced a team that will compete at the Olympic Games, and played in a number of tournaments before. We only had the chance to train 20 times, at night, as we have to study or work. We’re not discouraged, and we’ll fight for the bronze medal on Sunday, on Uruguay’s pride behalf,” said defense player Gonzalo Martinoni.
Today, there was another definition. Peru will face Puerto Rico for the fifth place of the Pan American Challenge.
The Peruvians finished the sports day defeating Panamá 6-0, with three goals scored by Miguel Rivera, and the rest by Sebastián Dennison and Fabrizio Corno. Puerto Rico opened the day with a 8-1 victory over Ecuador. Scorers were: Henzor Motta and Manuel Colón with two goals each, Gilberto Monserrate, Kelvin Rivera, Joseph Agosto and Ottus Feliciano with one goal each.
Peru and Puerto Rico will play at 3:45 PM, while Panama and Ecuador will play at 1:30 PM, for the seventh and eighth place.