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Venezuela hard done by defeat

Venezuela said they felt hard done by after losing 5-3 on penalties to Paraguay in their Copa America semi-final on Wednesday after a goalless draw which they dominated. Match statistics

sports Updated: Jul 22, 2011 02:11 IST

Venezuela said they felt hard done by after losing 5-3 on penalties to Paraguay in their Copa America semi-final on Wednesday after a goalless draw which they dominated.

"I don't want to do them down - but Paraguay were incredibly lucky," said coach Cesar Farias.

"But we go home with our heads held high.

"They chalked off a goal for us, we hit the woodwork three times and created more chances. We should have won but it didn't work out for us," said Farias, whose side was unbeaten throughout the tournament.

"This is how things go with football and I cannot reproach my players. Penalties are basically all down to luck and today it wasn't on our side."

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Robbed of victory, says Prez Chavez
President Hugo Chavez proclaimed Venezuela had been "robbed" of their victory goal after his team were beaten.

"In my modest opinion, based on observable facts, THEY ROBBED US OF THE VICTORY GOAL! And I hope that with that I don't offend anyone," Chavez said via Twitter from Cuba where he is undergoing treatment for cancer.

Brawl marks end to thrilling showdown
The post-match fight, involving players and coaching staff from both teams, lasted for several minutes and could lead to further suspensions for Paraguay.

Police then had to escort the players and coaches from the field to protect them from objects thrown from the crowd.

The result meant that Paraguay reached the final of South America's most prestigious tournament without winning a single match in open play having drawn three group matches before beating Brazil on penalties.

It also brought a halt to Venezuela's remarkable Copa America. Long regarded as the weakest side on the continent, they had never before reached the semi-finals. "Now the whole world knows that in South America there's another team that's got quality," said Farias.