Fulham defender Fernando Amorebieta played the full ninety minutes as Venezuela began their Copa America campaign with a surprise victory over Colombia in Rancagua last night. It was the tournament’s biggest shock and Venezuela’s first win over their neighbours in the history of the competition.
A disciplined and determined defensive display was enough to secure the three points for the Venezuelans, who hold onto their 60th minute lead courtesy of Solamon Rondon’s clever finish, despite constant Colombian pressure. Amorebieta picked up an early booking for a typically robust challenge on Radamel Falcao.
The 30 year-old has endured a disappointing spell at Craven Cottage since joining on a free transfer from Athletic Bilbao in May 2013. He made 26 appearances in his first season, which saw Fulham relegated from the Premier League, and was sent off in the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City, before scoring Fulham’s second goal against Hull City, when the concession of a 2-0 lead late in the game all but dashed any hopes of survival. Amorebieta was frozen out by Felix Magath at the start of the last season and had looked set to join Grenada in the August transfer window, before making nine appearances under Kit Symons, the last of which saw him red carded in the 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Bournemouth.
Amorebieta then joined Middlesbrough on loan in March, making five appearances and memorably scoring their winner against Brentford in stoppage time at the end of the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final at Griffin Park. With two years to run on his current contract, it remains to be seen where Amorebieta will be come the new campaign. His immediate focus will be trying to ensure Venezuela progress from the group stages with a win over Peru next Thursday.