Mon, Jul 02, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Venezuela beat Peru 2-0 in Copa America match

AP , MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA

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 rival Bolivia 1-0.

Yesterday, soccer powerhouse Brazil was scheduled to face Chile in Maturin, attempting to recover from its humbling opening loss against Mexico 2-0. Ecuador and Mexico face off in the other Group B match.

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, the team had been outscored 149-29.

The Venezuelans have long been the weakest team in South American soccer, but after a string of victories against its regional rivals in recent years, its hosting the 12-nation tournament convinced it can advance to the quarter-finals for the first time.

Despite beating Bolivia, Uruguay's offense struggled. 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.

With one match remaining, Venezuela leads Group A with four points, one more than Uruguay and Peru with three each.

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