Jesse Marsch's Canada shocks Venezuela and reaches Copa América semifinal

Jesse Marsch and The Maples have done it.

Canada booked their spot in the CONMEBOL Copa América 2024 semifinals after defeating Venezuela through a penalty shoot out in an intense match held at AT&T Stadium on Friday.

The Maples hit first in just the 13th minute of the game when Cyle Larin dribbled the ball all the way into the goal line, setting up Nashville SC’s Jacob Shaffelburg to put Canada ahead. American manager Jesse March was buzzing.

The early goal did not deny The Maples from more opportunities to double their lead in the first half, with Canada having a pair of solid goalscoring chances despite the very aggressive pressure from Venezuela who was desperately looking to bring the game back level.

The restart saw much of the same, with Canada failing to capitalize on this counter attack that would come back to haunt them just a couple of minutes later.

In the 63rd minute, a long ball from Venezuela goalkeeper sent to striker Salomón Rondón ended in what is a strong candidate for the best goal of the tournament.

Salomón Rondón goal vs. Canada

The vintage vinotinto goalscorer took advantage of the bounce in the middle of the pitch, pulling the trigger on the outrageous chance of lobbing the ball over Canada’s Maxime Crépeau from over 40 yards to put the game back level.

Venezuelan fans in Arlington, Texas were waiting for this exact moment.

The match, from this point forward, had both national teams go into the attack desperately looking to avoid going into a penalty shoot out. Canada were close to shocking Venezuela with a quick turn around goal with this missed chance.

The roller coaster of emotions continued from the spot in the penalty shoot out, with players failing to hit the target and the goalkeepers each tallying a save to send it to sudden death.

It wasn’t until the sixth penalty take from Venezuela when Crépeau predicted Wilker Ángel's shot and dove left to seal Canada’s fate. Ismaël Koné scored the winner.

Canada becomes the only Concacaf team to reach the semifinal stage in the current tournament, with Panamá testing their luck against top contender Colombia on Saturday.

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