Soccer Sports News and Scores by From The Tunnel

Venezuela outlasts Jamaica in Copa America group play

Jamaica forward Giles Barnes (No. 9) drives toward the Venezuela net against midfielder Arquimides Figura in the Copa America Centenario Group A soccer game on Sunday in Solder Field Chicago. Venezuela's Josef Martinez scored in the 15th minute to give Venezuela the win to gain three points in the Group A standings. (Photo by Carmen Salerno)

Jamaica played well but its effort fell short to the spirited play of Venezuela, 1-0, in the opening game of Group A in the Copa America Centenario. A defensive mistake by Jamaica allowed Josef Martinez to score the only goal of the game to give Venezuela three points and quick lead in the Group A standings.

“What we got from the game was self-confidence as a team because they knew they had to win the first game in a difficult group with teams having so much history,” said Venezuela Head Coach Rafael Dudamel through an interpreter.

“They respect all the teams, but today they focused on Jamaica. The players knew how to handle the attack from the other team and obtain a victory.”

Jamaica failed to clear the ball from its defensive zone in the 15th minute where Martinez picked up the loose ball and fired a low shot past Andre Blake to give Venezuela the lead 1-0.

In the 24th minute, Jamaica’s Rodolph Austin was given a Red Card ejection for a foul to Clayton Donaldson. Reportedly, Jamaica Head Coach Winifred Schaefer was ejected at half time for disputing the call.

“We were down to ten men which is always difficult against a strong South American team,” said Jamaica forward Giles Barnes. “We have to move on from here.”

Jamaica made adjustments at the half but couldn’t contain Venezuela attack. Venezuela held the ball-possession advantage 61 percent to 39 for the game.

“Sometimes you just have let the other team have the ball in not so dangerous areas. We were in it for a lot of the game and we had chances obviously. But I think we gave a good account for ourselves.”

Jamaica’s defender Wes Morgan entered the game in the 40th minute. Morgan was late joining the team due to his club team Leicester City winning the 2015-16 Premier League championship.

This is Venezuela’s first Copa America appearance since 1967.

Copa notes: The USMNT held a practice Sunday morning on the UIC campus following a devastating shutout loss to Columbia 2-0 to open the Copa America Centenario Group A competition in Santa Clara, CA. The USA team plays Costa Rica on Tuesday in Chicago’s Soldier Field and faces a “must-win” situation.

“Costa Rica is a good possession team with a lot of energy,” said USA defender John Brooks. “It’s a situation where our backs are against the wall. It’s one game, we got two games to go play.”

USA defender John Brooks Interviewed by FromTheTunnel Joe Costino

The Ticos are coming off a very physical scoreless 0-0 game against Paraguay. The teams combined for five yellow cards and one red card to Costa Rica’s Kendall Watson.

USA’s Clint Dempsey knows the situation and believes the team will be ready. “There’s always pressure to win,” he said.

Clint Dempsey Interviwed by Fromthetunnel Editior Joe Costino

BOX SCORE

Lineups

Jamaica: Andre Blake (GK), Michael Hector (Lee Williamson 77′), Clayton Donaldson, Giles Barnes, Joel McAnuff, Je-Vaughn Watson (Michael Binns 88′), Rodolph Austin (Red Card 24′), Adrian Mariappa (Capt.), Kemar Lawrence (Wes Morgan 40′), Jermaine Taylor, Garath McCleary.

Venezuela: Dani Hernandez (GK), Wuiker Angel, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, Arquimides Figuera, Tomas Rincon (Capt.), Salomon Rondon, Luis Seijas (Romulo Otero 77′), Alejandro Guerra (Alexander Gonzalez 90+1′), Roberto Rosales, Josef Martinez (Adalberto Penaranda 77′), Rolf Feltscher.

Scoring Summary

Venezuela: Martinez 15′

Attendance: 25,560

 

SCOREBOARD

Fri., June 3
Group A
USA 0-2 Columbia, Columbia goals by Cristian Zapata (8′) and James Rodriguez (42′)

Sat., June 4
Group A
Costa Rica 0-0 Paraguay
Group B
Haiti 0-1 Peru, Peru goal by Paolo Guerrero (60′)
Brazil 0-0 Ecuador

Sun., June 5
Group C
Jamaica 0-1 Venezuela, Venezuela goal by Josef Martinez
Mexico 3-1 Uruguay, Mexico goals by Alvaro Pereia (4′) own goal, Rafa Marquez (86′), Hector Herrera (90′), and Uruguay goal by Diego Godin (73′)

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