Brazil held by Venezuela in a frustrating goalless draw amidst VAR drama

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. Venezuela manager Rafael Dudamel was delighted with the effort of his team to limit Brazil’s shots on target to just one. 

Venezuela are third in the group, on two points, and play bottom-placed Bolivia next, meaning they can still qualify. 

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.


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