Venezuela into Copa quarters with Mexico win


Salomon Rondon tucked away a second-half penalty to send Venezuela into the Copa America quarter-finals on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Mexico in Group B, a result that also sent Jamaica crashing out of the tournament.

Rondon made no mistake from the spot in the 57th minute after Jon Aramburu was brought down inside the box by Julian Quinones, sending Mexico keeper Julio Gonzalez the wrong way and slotting home into the bottom corner.

The goal was Venezuelan all-time top scorer Rondon's 42nd for his country.

Mexico were awarded a penalty of their own for a handball in the dying minutes after a video review concluded Miguel Navarro had blocked Jorge Sanchez's shot with his left arm.

However, Venezuela goalkeeper Rafael Romo got down low to parry Orbelin Pineda's 87th minute spot kick.

"Sometimes we were not in possession of the ball, but we never gave up," Venezuela coach Fernando Batista said through an interpreter. "They give it their all ... and that makes me very proud."

The win moved Venezuela, who beat Ecuador in their opening match, up to six points at the top of the group and secured their progress to the last eight with a game to spare.

Mexico play Ecuador in Arizona on Sunday in a match that will decide the other qualifier from the group.

Jamaica are out irrespective of the outcome of their last match against Venezuela in Texas having already lost to Mexico and Ecuador.

Venezuela will win the group with a draw or victory in their final match against Jamaica, potentially avoiding defending champions Argentina in the quarter-final stage.

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