Venezuela are into the climax of the FIFA U-20 World Cup as they survived a tight all-South American clash to squeeze through to their first ever FIFA final, beating Uruguay 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
The pair are familiar foes, meeting twice in qualifying. Neither had not conceded at Korea Republic 2017 till the last eight and, as a result, the game was a well-marshalled one.
Venezuela were the tournament’s top scorers but, besides a spurned header by Nahuel Ferraresi, were largely frustrated. Marcelo Saraachi went closest at the other end, seeing his low effort beaten away by Wuilker Farinez.
While La Vinotinto moved the ball the better, Uruguay got the early second-half break-through, with Nicolas De La Cruz slotting in from the penalty spot after Agustin Canobbio had been felled. It should have been two moments later as scorer turned creator, but a stunning save by Farinez denied Nicolas Schiappacasse from point-blank range.
Venezuela probed but the blue wall was firm in the face of burgundy pressure. Sergio Cordova spurned a great chance to head his fifth of the tournament but substitute Samuel Sosa saved the day. In injury-time he slammed him a 25-yard free-kick to take the game beyond 90 minutes.
Yeferson Soteldo and Cordova both test Santiago Mele in the Uruguay goal in extra-time, before Farinez had to throw out a leg to deny Federico Valverde from audaciously scoring direct from a corner. He was forced to superbly deny the Real Madrid man again, this time from a free-kick before Jan Hurtado so nearly won it, rattling the post.
But it went to penalties and, with both sides seeing an effort missed, it was Uruguay captain De La Cruz who could not convert for the second time on the night.