The eight-time Copa champion got off to an insipid start in La Plata when it was held by the plucky minnows.LA PLATA, Argentina - Venezuela delivered the surprise of day two of the 2011 Copa America as it managed to hold Brazil to a 0-0 draw at the Cuidad de la Plata.
The star-studded team of the Samba boys tried their hardest to break down Cesar Farias' resilient side, but ultimately failed to find a way past Renny Vega as the match ended in a stalemate.
"I think we were able to be consistently on their half of the pitch and threaten them," Brazil boss Mano Menezes said of his team's showing. "Unfortunately, we were unable to score. But that will happen sometimes against defensive-minded opponents".
Brazil started the game lively and almost got the opener in the first minute of the game when Robinho was released outside the box, but saw his finish saved by Vega. Moments later Alexandre Pato was flagged for offside just as he was about to finish past the goalkeeper after a through-ball by Neymar.
Mano Menezes' men were tightening the grip by the minute, but were struggling to find a way past Venezuela's solid defense. On 22 minutes Pato had a good chance to get himself on the scoresheet, but could only head a cross from Neymar straight at Vega from inside the box.
The AC Milan man nearly redeemed himself just before the half-hour when he rattled the bar with a powerful shot from the right side of the penalty area. Moments later the striker was once again facing Vega, but his low finish was smothered by the shot-stopper at the second attempt.
Moments before the halftime, whistle Robinho slid a shot past Vega, and just as the Brazilians thought the ball was going in, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo blocked the finish with a well-timed lunge.
In the final attack of the first period Neymar missed a great chance as he fired high from inside the box under no pressure at all.
The tempo dropped in the second half as both teams started playing defensively, waiting for a chance to hit on the counter. Brazil in particular was lacking the urgency it had in the early minutes of the game, and did not look like a team chasing the three points.
"It was a difficult match," Venezeula midfielder Juan Arango said. "We know that Brazil is a team that move the ball quite well, they have excellent players and I think that Venezeula stood their ground very well. The match was more complicated for us in the first half, but in the second half we made some adjustments and we pressured them."
The first real opportunity after the break fell to Brazil in the 55th minute when Pato superbly released himself with a back heel in the center of the box, but Vega rushed off his line and claimed the ball ahead of the striker.
Just after the hour mark Ramires threaded a fine pass to Pato outside the six-yard box, but the Milan striker once again saw his finish blocked. Venezuela started to pick up its game in the following minutes and soon created its first real chance of the match.
With a quarter of an hour to go, Arango almost got the opener for Cesar Farias' team when he was released on the left side of the box, but blasted well wide with Julio Cesar beaten.
Brazil threw everything forward in the remaining minutes of the game, but was ultimately unable to find a goal.
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