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2019 Copa América, Quarterfinals
  • Fabián Balbuena (58')
Brazil advance 4-3 on penalties
Brazil advance 4-3 on penalties

Brazil survive penalty shootout to beat Paraguay

Copa America hosts Brazil survived a nervy penalty shootout to beat Paraguay and advance to the semifinals on Thursday night in Porto Alegre.

A pair of Paraguay misses in the shootout saw them exit the tournament, with Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus hitting the decisive spot kick for Brazil after the match finished 0-0 in regulation time.

Jesus had missed a penalty against Peru in their last group game and said he went back to his tried and tested technique on Thursday.

"In the last game I didn't look at the keeper and I hit it hard straight away and the goalie made a good save," Jesus said.

"Today I did it my usual way, I looked calmly at the keeper and I could see him moving to the left and I side-footed it the other way."

Brazil, who have won every Copa America they've hosted, had the majority of possession as the physical Paraguayans picked up three yellow cards in the first half, with both teams rarely threatening the opposition goal save for a handful of decent chances.

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Tite brought Alex Sandro on for Filipe Luis at half-time and Brazil looked much more lively from the outset.

Fabian Balbuena was whistled for a foul on Roberto Firmino in the penalty area and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. However, he changed his decision after consulting the pitch-side monitor and awarded Brazil a free kick outside the box while handing Balbuena a straight red for the tackle.

Dani Alves' subsequent free kick was well struck but fizzed just wide of the far post, with Brazil playing up a man for the final 30 minutes after the Balbuena red.

With the advantage, Brazil were firmly on the front foot but continued to lack the necessary cutting edge with their finishing despite a host of late chances. After seven minutes of stoppage time the match went to penalties.

"We created lots and lots of chances, the ball hit the woodwork, the goalkeeper worked miracles, but the fans helped us and we never gave up," said midfielder Arthur.

"We know what football is like, it's about small details, and we couldn't win but we felt the good energies and we managed to get through on penalties."

Brazil manager Tite said the level of play at the Gremio arena was negatively impacted by the uneven surface.

"It's absurd that at this high level we are playing on pitches where it is difficult to control the ball," Tite told reporters after the match.

"Players need three touches to control it. It's absurd."

Goalkeeper Alisson who, like Arthur, started his career in Porto Alegre, saluted his teammates for their hard-fought victory.

"This is a team that deserved the win today," Alisson said.

"It was a draw but against a team that didn't want to play unless it was on the counter attack. We've gone up one step, two more to go to our objective, to be Copa America champions."

Willian, Marquinhos and Philippe Coutinho converted their penalties for Brazil, while Miguel Almiron, Bruno Valdez and Rodrigo Rojas netted for Paraguay, before Jesus hit the decisive spot kick.

Brazil now have four straight shutouts at the Copa América, their longest such streak at the tournament since keeping eight clean sheets from from 1989 to 1991.