SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — For the second straight time in the Copa America at home, Brazil was jeered by its fans.
The hosts followed a lackluster win over Bolivia with a scoreless draw against Venezuela in the Copa America on Tuesday, prompting another wave of boos from the home crowd.
This time, Brazil even endured chants of “ole” by the local fans when the Venezuelans touched the ball near the end of the match.
“Obviously it doesn’t help when the fans are against us, chanting ‘ole’ for our opponent,” Brazil left back Filipe Luis said. “In the end, that doesn’t help anybody. We need to keep fighting and keep giving our best to try to change things.”
Brazil played better than it did in the opener against Bolivia, but it was not able to break through the stout Venezuelan defense at the Arena Fonte Nova.
“It’s frustrating,” Filipe Luis said. “We did everything we could to try to win this match. We had many scoring chances, we controlled the game, but we couldn’t come away with the victory.”
Brazil had two goals reversed by video review because of offside calls, one by Gabriel Jesus early in the second half and another by Philippe Coutinho near the end of the match.
Despite the setback, the hosts stayed at the top of Group A with four points, tied with Peru, which earlier Tuesday defeated Bolivia 3-1 in Rio de Janeiro. Venezuela, which opened with a 0-0 draw against Peru, has two points.
The group will be decided on Saturday with Brazil facing Peru in Sao Paulo and Venezuela taking on Bolivia in Belo Horizonte. The top two teams in each group advance to the next round, along with the two best third-place finishers.
Brazil thought it had scored with substitute Gabriel Jesus shortly after halftime, but the goal was disallowed after a review showed that Roberto Firmino, who made the pass to the Manchester City striker, was offside when the ball deflected off a Venezuela defender. The Brazilians complained, arguing that it was a pass — not a deflection — by the defender.
“Welcome to the VAR, long live the VAR,” Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel said. “No one gifted anything to us. Justice was made and you have to keep believing in those who do justice.”
Coutinho’s goal with about five minutes left in regulation was reversed because his close-range shot deflected off Firmino, who was in an offside position in front of the net. The goal would have stood had the ball not touched the Liverpool forward.
“We can’t complain about the VAR,” Brazil coach Tite said. “Justice was made.”
Firmino had a goal disallowed late in the first half for pulling a defender inside the area before he scored.
Brazil’s first goal in the 3-0 win over Bolivia on Friday had come from a penalty awarded by video review.
It was Venezuela which had the best scoring opportunity in the first half with a close-range header by striker Salomon Rondon that missed just wide.
Brazil nearly got the winner in second-half stoppage time with a header by Fernandinho that nearly found the far corner.
Brazil hadn’t been held scoreless in a match at home since the 3-0 loss to the Netherlands in the third-place match in the 2014 World Cup.
Brazil is seeking a ninth Copa America title. It won the tournament all four previous times it hosted the event, the last time in 1989.
Venezuela’s best Copa finish was a fourth place in 2011.
AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report from Sao Paulo.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.