A brace by Darwin Machis and a goal by Josef Martinez helped Venezuela beat Bolivia 3-1 and advance to the Copa America quarter-finals on Saturday.
Venezuela, who have never won the Copa America or qualified for a FIFA World Cup, finished Group A second to Brazil.
Peru finished third after being hammered 5-0 by the Copa America hosts and had to wait for other results to know whether they would advances as one of the best third-placed teams.
After two goalless draws with Peru and Brazil, Venezuela knew they had to bring their most attacking formation against Bolivia at the Mineirao Stadium to advance.
Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel said the team showed solidity by imposing their game on Bolivia.
“We had to work more in our defense than expected; it was a team that was hurt. And they did very well,” Dudamel said. “We controlled [the match] tactically and we responded to match situations; that gives us the tranquility of knowing that we have a team and that everyone knows they are important.”
Leonel Justiniano scored Bolivia’s goal.
Bolivia coach Eduardo Villegas was philosophical about his team’s performance in their third loss at the tournament.
“We learned a lot. We came with a group of players of intermediary age and young men that earned some experience, saw what it is like to be in an international competition,” he said.
Dudamel said that the quarter-final clash, no matter against whom, would inspire an even better Venezuela.
“We have shown ourselves as a more complete team each day in every aspect,” he said. “We have to keep this sequence. We will not do anything differently.”
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‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first