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Peru Beats Uruguay on Penalties to Advance to 2019 Copa America Semifinals

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2019

Uruguay's Luis Suarez, right, walks by Peru's Paolo Guerrero, left, after failing to score during the penalty shoot-out during a Copa America quarterfinal soccer match at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

Peru defeated Uruguay 5-4 in a penalty shootout Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the 2019 Copa America.

Following a scoreless opening 90 minutes at Arena Fonte Nova, Edison Flores struck the decisive penalty, hitting the ball straight down the middle as Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera dove to his left side.

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Peru pulls off the upset and is heading to the #CopaAmerica semifinals! https://t.co/PcWVTKedRv

Bad luck and poor finishing prevented Uruguay from getting on the board in regular time. In a fitting beginning to the penalty shootout, Pedro Gallese saved Luis Suarez's penalty into the bottom left corner.

The stars simply didn't align for the 15-time Copa America champion.

Peru finished with zero shots on target and three shots in total, as coach Ricardo Gareca clearly wanted his team to adopt an ultra-defensive approach.

OptaJavier @OptaJavier

43 - Peru ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช attempted their first shot against Uruguay๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡พ at the 43rd minute (Edison Flores); the latest for a first shot of any team in a game of the 2019 Copa America. Harmless. #CopaAmerica https://t.co/V9JNPtRCDt

Uruguay had 12 shots, three of which were on target, and neither figure properly conveys how many scoring opportunities slipped through its fingers.

In the 24th minute, Edinson Cavani was on the edge of the six-yard box with Gallese out of the play when he shot well over the crossbar.

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Oh no! ๐Ÿ™ˆ https://t.co/oJ51oRZVpP

Five minutes later, Giorgian de Arrascaeta appeared to break the deadlock, but teammate Nahitan Nandez was ruled offside in the buildup.

A Suarez through ball put Cavani one-on-one with Gallese in the 59th minute. The Paris Saint-Germain striker calmly curled a shot into the back of the net, only to discover the linesman had ruled him offside before receiving Suarez's pass.

It was Suarez's turn to be offside in the 73rd minute. He easily put away Martin Caceres' low cross but didn't get to celebrate his would-be goal for very long, as the linesman again raised his flag.

B/R Football @brfootball

3 goals disallowed. Uruguay mood: https://t.co/s8dszpA5Po

Uruguay can't feel robbed of a victory, as the Copa America utilized video replay, which confirmed the validity of the offside decisions. And the match likely unfolds much differently if Cavani puts away what was a golden chance.

Even heading into the penalty shootout, many would have expected La Celeste to come out on top. TSN's Kristian Jack noted Suarez converted 81 percent of his penalties before stepping up to the spot Saturday.

Instead, Uruguay is out for the second time in three tournaments following its most recent triumph in 2011.

Peru will meet Chile in the next round, with the match scheduled for Wednesday in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Host Brazil and Argentina face off in the other semifinal Tuesday.

Peru head into the semifinals still with a minus-three goal differential in the tournament. Brazil's 5-0 demolition of La Blanquirroja in the group stage showed how their defensive game plan can come undone. Surely, Peru can't ride its luck against Chile like it did in the quarterfinals.

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