Chicago (Illinois): Venezuela earned a 1-0 win against 10-man Jamaica in a Copa America Centenario Group C football match.
Josef Martinez of Venezuela celebrates his goal against Jamaica during a match in the 2016 Copa America Centenario at Soldier Field on June 5, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. Pic/AFP
Jamaica created several early chances with direct play here on Sunday, most notably in the 11th minute, when Je-Vaughn Watson crashed a header against the crossbar.
Just four minutes later, Venezuela struck first by capitalising on a Jamaica turnover near its own penalty area.
Left back Rolf Feltscher knocked away a Michael Hector pass, initiating a four-pass sequence that resulted in Alejandro Guerra feeding Josef Martínez, whose diagonal run culminated in a low finish underneath a charging Andre Blake.
The momentum continued to go Venezuela's way in the game's biggest moment in the 23rd minute, when Jamaican midfielder Rodolph Austin stretched to win a midfield challenge and, on his follow-through, caught Tomas Rincon with his studs, earning a red card from referee Victor Carrillo.
Jamaica did get a boost when captain Wes Morgan came off the bench for an injured Kemar Lawrence in the 40th minute, and they instantly seemed to grow in confidence. Jamaica almost tied the game early in the second half, only to be denied by the post.
Venezuela almost put the game away in the 70th minute when Guerra's corner kick found the curling run of Wilker Angel, but his low header was denied by a terrific full-stretch save from Blake.
Jamaica had several late chances, with Watson firing high in the 75th minute and Adrian Mariappa forcing a save from Dani Hernandez with a strong header in the 83rd minute, but Venezuela already had the decisive moments it needed.
Venezuela will look for a second straight win on Thursday when they face Uruguay in Philadelphia, while Jamaica will continue their quest for a victory against Mexico at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
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