Copa America : Venezuela’s record win

Maracaibo, July 1:

Venezuela won for only the second time in 47 matches at the Copa America on Saturday, moving to the verge of the quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory over Peru. Earlier, two-time World Cup champion Uruguay struggled past a relatively weak opponent Bolivia 1-0.

After playing before a home crowd with a man advantage for 35 minutes, defender Alejandro Cichero gave Venezuela the lead in the 49th, outleaping the Peru defense and heading Ricardo Maldonado’s corner kick inside the right post.

Despite Ricardo Paez’s expulsion for a second yellow card in the 78th minute, substitute Daniel Arismendi doubled the lead a minute later, driving a ball low on rain-soaked pitch from outside the area past diving Peru keeper Leao Butron.

Venezuelan’s only other victory was a 3-0 win over Bolivia in its 1967 Copa America debut and prior to its opening 2-2 draw with Bolivia on Tuesday.

Despite beating Bolivia, Uruguay’s offense continued to struggle. Its lone goal came in the 58th minute when a sliding Vicente Sanchez toed in a deflected ball from Diego Forlan, whose transfer from Villarreal to Atletico Madrid was confirmed by the Spanish clubs before kickoff.

Manager Oscar Tabarez remains unconvinced by Uruguay’s performance, saying following the match that the inexperienced Bolivia in many ways played better than his team of mostly Europe-based players. Uruguay is tied with Argentina with the most championship titles, 14 each.

With one match remaining, Venezuela leads Group A with four points, one more than Uruguay and Peru with three each. Bolivia has one point. The top two teams in each of the three four-team groups advance along with top two third-place teams.