Mexico loses to Venezuela in Copa América group stage game

Salomón Rondón scored on a penalty kick in the 57th minute and goalkeeper Rafael Romo made the goal stand up with a diving stop on Orbelín Pineda’s penalty try 28 minutes later, giving Venezuela a 1-0 upset over Mexico in a Copa América group-stage game played before a sellout crowd of 72,000 at SoFi Stadium.

With the victory, Venezuela advances to the tournament semifinals while Mexico, a loser in four of its last six matches, needs a win over Ecuador on Sunday to avoid elimination.

Venezuela got the only goal in would need when Rondón rolled a right-footed penalty kick just inside the left post for his 42nd international goal. The goal was set up when halftime substitute Cristian Cásseres worked a give-and-go with defender Jon Aramburu that ended with Mexico’s Julián Quiñones tripping Aramburu in the box.

Brazilian referee Rafael Claus immediately pointed to the spot, and after a long pause Rondón, the Venezuelan captain, converted his try by sending Mexican keeper Julio González diving toward the wrong post.

Rondón beat González from the run of the play in the first half, but his left-footed shot from distance hit the far post and bounced harmlessly away.

Mexico had a chance to tie the score in the final minutes of regulation when Venezuelan defender Miguel Navarro was called for a handball. Claus confirmed the penalty through a video replay, but Pineda was unable to convert, with Romo diving to his right to push the low shot away.

Mexico outshot Venezuela 18-10, putting five of those tries on frame, but Romo was equal to the task, making five saves.

Mexico, playing at SoFi Stadium for the first time since winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup final there 11 months ago, was on the front foot for the most of the opening half, outshooting Venezuela 8-3. But it was unable to capitalize on that dominance when Santiago Giménez whiffed on a left-footed shot from the center of the box in the 19th minute.

Mexico was missing its top two goalkeepers in Guillermo Ochoa and Luis Malagón, captain Edson Álvarez and forwards Raúl Jiménez and Hirving Lozano to injury.

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