RIO DE JANEIRo - Brazil had three goals disallowed by VAR as they were held by Venezuela to a goalless draw in Group A of the Copa América.

The hosts thought Philippe Coutinho had finally gotten them the upper hand in the final minutes of the game, but his close-range effort was ruled out after VAR showed a handball by Roberto Firmino in the buildup. The Liverpool forward had already found himself on the wrong end of a VAR decision, which led to an effort by Gabriel Jesus being disallowed.

That came after Firmino had managed to find the net in the 38th minute – but the goal was chalked off after the referee ruled he had fouled in the process. Without the injured Neymar, the hosts appeared to lack some of the finishing power they needed to really get the better of La Vinotinto’s impressive goalkeeper, Wuilker Faríñez.

The Group A leaders dominated possession and had nearly 20 attempts on goal but they were repeatedly frustrated – despite manager Tite bringing on Everton, Fernandinho and Jesus in the second half.

The crowd booed Brazil at the final whistle and Tite said he had sympathy with them. “We have to understand the supporters, they want to see goals and if I had been in the crowd I also would have wanted to boo us,” he said, before adding he had no complaints with the VAR decisions. “VAR was correct. I have absolutely nothing to demand. We got justice. They made the right call with both [VAR] goals.”

Venezuela manager Rafael Dudamel was delighted with the effort of his team to limit Brazil’s shots on target to just one. “We played an almost perfect game against a team of brilliant individuals,” he said, adding: “Long live VAR.” Today is very important, but this result will mean nothing if we don’t qualify from the group.”

Venezuela are third in the group, on two points, and play bottom-placed Bolivia next, meaning they can still qualify. “Today is very important, but this result will mean nothing if we don’t qualify from the group,” said Dudamel.

Tite’s side started the tournament with a 3-0 opening-night victory over Bolivia as they look to claim their first Copa América crown since 2007. That task was made all the more difficult when Paris St Germain forward Neymar was ruled out of the competition after injuring his ankle in a warmup win over Qatar.

Despite scoring their first goal of the tournament, it wasn’t enough for Bolivia to get their first points on the board. A VAR assisted penalty tucked away by Marcelo Moreno in the 28th minute looked like it would set Bolivia on course to victory, but their lead didn’t last too long.

Internacional striker Paolo Guerrero scored an equaliser just before the half-time whistle, when he rounded the goalkeeper and finished into an empty net. Everything was to play for entering a the second half.

Despite facing the prospect of elimination, Bolivia were unable to hold out for a point, with Peru displaying their quality.

Guerrero played a part yet again when he came up with a crossed assist for former Schalke 04 winger Jefferson Farfan to simply nod home just ten minutes into the second half.

Despite Peru’s dominance, the scoreline would remain at 2-1 until the 95th minute, when substitute Edison Flores finished a clinical counter attack to secure a vital three points for Peru - a result which puts them level at the top of Group A with Brazil.


Peru 3

Bolivia 1

Brazil 0

Venezuela 0