Venezuelans robbed in Copa loss - Chavez

21 July 2011 06:30

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez inisted Thursday his countrymen were "robbed" as they lost out to Paraguay in the semi-finals of the Copa America to end their dream of a shock final place.

The Venezuelans deserved better than a penalty shootout loss which handed the Paraguayans a trophy match against Uruguay on Sunday, hitting the woodwork three times and having a goal disallowed for offside.

To add insult to injury, the Mexican referee did not send off Paraguay's Dario Veron for violent conduct and the same player stepped up to convert the final spotkick, leaving Chavez aggrieved - particularly on the ruled out goal.

"They robbed us of a winner . Fidel (Castro) and I clearly saw the goal they chalked off," Chavez said from Cuba, where he is undergoing treatment for cancer.

"I think we whould make our voices heard - we have the authority to do so before CONMEBOL," said Chavez, referring to the South American Football Confederation.

Chavez said he hoped to take the matter up with CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz - who is Paraguayan.

Chavez, who has been sending a constant stream of messages to the Vinotinto via his Twitter account, nonetheless praised Venezuela coach Cesar Farias, skipper Juan Arango and the rest of the team.

"You were great - what an honour" he said of their overall showing which left them undefeated, the penalties aside, throughout the tournament which they opened by holding holders Brazil to a draw.

After their narrow squeak in Mendoza, Paraguay will now seek to deny Uruguay a record 15th title in the world's oldest international football tournament.

Source: AFP