Peru de­feat Venezuela 1-0 on Pizarro goal

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY RI­CARDO ZU­NIGA

A 72nd-minute goal by vet­eran striker Clau­dio Pizarro gave Peru a 1-0 vic­tory over 10-man Venezuela on Thurs­day, leav­ing the four teams of Group C in the Copa Amer­ica ex­actly even go­ing into the last games of the round-robin stage.

The Bay­ern Mu­nich for­ward scored on a left-footed shot that was tipped by Venezuela goal­keeper Alain Baroja but still went in off the un­der­side of the cross­bar.

“It was an im­por­tant goal to be able to think about ad­vanc­ing,” Pizarro said. “That’s why I’m ex­cited. Be­sides, scor­ing a goal for the na­tional team is im­por­tant.”

Venezuela, which up­set Colom­bia in its open­ing match, was in com­mand un­til de­fender Fer­nando Amore­bi­eta was sent off on a straight red card in the 29th for stomp­ing on the leg of Peru’s Paolo Guer­rero.

All four teams in Group C — Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Colom­bia — are level on points and goal dif­fer­ence. On Sun­day in the fi­nal Group C matches, Colom­bia plays Peru and Brazil faces Venezuela.

Venezuela con­trolled the early play as Peru had trou­ble get­ting out of its own end. Venezuela’s Salomon Ron­don was through on goal in the 7th but shot di­rectly at goal­keeper Pe­dro Gallese. Team­mate Ale­jan­dro Guerra also had early chances.

The send­ing off of Amore­bi­eta by ref­eree Raul Orosco changed the com­plex­ion. There is no doubt Amore­bi­eta stomped on Guer­rero, but it was not clear it was in­ten­tional.

“We were in charge of the match, and with 11 the re­sult might not have been the same,” Venezuela midfielder To­mas Rin­con said. “It’s tough play­ing a man short for so long.”

That turned the heat up and changed the match, though Peru mounted lit­tle sus­tained at­tack in the first half de­spite the man ad­van­tage.

Peru’s at­tack threat­ened early in the sec­ond half with Pizarro and Guer­rero loop­ing early head­ers over the cross­bar.

Af­ter Pizarro scored, Peru kept more pos­ses­sion and was suc­cess­fully run­ning time off the clock as Venezuela never re­ally threat­ened.

AP

(Left) Peru’s Clau­dio Pizarro, top, avoids Venezuela’s Gabriel Cichero on the ground dur­ing a Copa Amer­ica Group A soc­cer match at the Elias Figueroa sta­dium in Val­paraiso, Chile on Thurs­day, June 18. (Right) Peru’s Car­los As­cues, right, goes for a header against Venezuela’s Jose Ron­don, sec­ond from right, dur­ing a Copa Amer­ica Group A soc­cer match at the Elias Figueroa sta­dium in Val­paraiso, Chile on Thurs­day.

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