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|July 12, 1999||
Brazil march on as Argentina's penalty jinx continues
Argentina's amazing run of Copa America penalty misses continued on Sunday as they were beaten 2-1 by arch-rivals and defending champions Brazil in the quarter-finals.
Ronaldo scored the winner for Brazil with his fourth goal of the tournament to become leading scorer.
Earlier, Ivan Zamorano, his team-mate at Italy's Inter Milan, grabbed the decisive goal to give Chile a shock 3-2 win over Colombia in the day's other quarter-final. A third Inter player, Argentina's Javier Zanetti, had an outstanding match but his efforts were in vain.
Argentina's penalty phobia began the previous Sunday, when Martin Palermo amazingly missed three in a 3-0 first round defeat by Colombia.
This time, captain Roberto Ayala stepped forward after Beto fouled Gustavo Lopes with Brazil 2-1 ahead and only 12 minutes left. But Ayala fared no better than Palermo, as his weak shot was saved by Brazil goalkeeper Dida and Argentina were on their way home after their third successive Copa America quarter-final defeat.
"I had faith I was going to score," said Ayala afterwards.
The match capped a drama-packed weekend in which the four quarter-finals produced 16 goals and the team which scored first in each ended up being eliminated.
Brazil will face Mexico, who beat Peru on penalties after a dramatic 3-3 draw on Saturday, in Wednesday's semi-final in Ciudad del Este.
On Tuesday, Chile take on Uruguay, who knocked out hosts Paraguay on penalties after a 1-1 draw Saturday, in Asuncion.
Brazilians always see meetings with Argentina, who of the few sides in the world are not intimidated by the sight of the famous gold shirts, as grudge matches, claiming their neighbours habitually resort to provocation and trouble-making.
On Sunday, both sides produced their quota of crunching tackles and both were equally guilty of theatrics. The referee had an impossible task telling real fouls from dives with so much playacting going on.
Argentina began well and took an 11th minute lead through Juan Pablo Sorin. They continued to be the more coherent side, but three minutes of individual brilliance won the game for Brazil.
The first was the free-kick from which the otherwise ineffective Rivaldo equalised in the 33rd minute. The second was the 48th minute long-range shot from which Ronaldo scored the winner. And finally came Dida's penalty save, his second of the cup.
Brazil coach Wanderley Luxemburgo was diplomatic in victory, but Ronaldo could not contain his joy at beating such bitter rivals.
"To beat Argentina is a marvelous feeling, wonderful," he said with a smug grin. "It's always good to beat Argentina."
Colombia, under former chemical engineer Javier Alvarez, had emerged as one of the title favourites after winning all three first round matches and had been expected to beat Chile.
They twice led through Jorge Bolano and Victor Bonilla, but defender Pedro Reyes twice headed Chile back on level terms. Then Zamorano ran on to a long through pass by defender Miguel Ramirez and scored a well-taken solo goal to knock out the competition's most entertaining side.
For the semi-final, Chile, who have never won the title, will welcome back Zamorano's striking partner Marcelo Salas, suspended for the last two games.
Boca Juniors striker Palermo, meanwhile, was left to contemplate his national team future. Brought in after Gabriel Batistuta and Hernan Crespo were rested following a long season in Europe, he hoped to finish as topscorer. Instead he left with three goals, the same number of penalty misses and a nasty black eye sustained in the first round match with Uruguay.
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