Venezuela late comeback stuns Paraguay to snatch draw

SALTA, Argentina, (Reuters) – Venezuela stunned  Paraguay with two goals in the dying minutes to snatch a 3-3  draw and retain their lead in Group B at the Copa America yesterday.

Jose Rondon put Venezuela ahead after five minutes when he  surprised goalkeeper Justo Villar with a shot from outside the  box after a pass from the left by Tomas Rincon.

Paraguay hit back just past the half hour when a high ball  into the box came back off goalkeeper Renny Vega’s post and was  played into the middle where the defence failed to clear and  centre back Antolin Alcaraz fired home.

Striker Lucas Barrios put the Paraguayans ahead in the 63rd  minute when Nelson Haedo Valdez’s shot from the left was parried  by the diving Vega and the striker turned in the rebound.

Paraguay opened a two-goal lead four minutes from time when  midfielder Cristian Riveros sent a glancing header inside the  near post from a free kick from the right.

Venezuela then staged a stunning comeback when striker  Nicolas Fedor pulled one back in the final minute and three  minutes into added time Grenddy Perozo equalised with a diving  header at a corner.

Venezuela, with seven points from their three matches, have  already secured a place in the South American tournament’s  quarter-finals, but await the result of Brazil’s match against  Ecuador in Cordoba (0045 GMT) to see whether they advance as  group winners.

Top spot would give Venezuela a potentially easier passage  to the semi-finals against the second of the two best  third-placed teams at the conclusion of the group stage of the  12-side tournament. Finishing second would mean taking on Group  C winners Chile, likely to be a more daunting prospect.

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