Uruguay, Venezuela stay alive in Copa America


Caracas : Uruguay beat Bolivia 1-0 and Venezuela defeated Peru 2-0 to restore their hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals after shaky starts in the Copa America football tournament.

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In an uneventful match in San Cristobal, Uruguay Saturday finally showed in the score with a goal from Vicente Sanchez in the 58th minute after some poor defending from Bolivia.

"Our merit for victory was the spirit with which we faced the game," said Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez.

Striker Diego Forlan was pleased with the change too after Uruguay lost 0-3 to Peru in their first game.

"We lifted our level from the previous match," Forlan said. "But what we were most interested in was winning."

The game between Peru and host Venezuela was more interesting. Peruvian Pedro Garcia was sent off in the 14th minute after elbowing Giancarlo Maldonado. Despite their one-man edge, Venezuela was unable to capitalise in the first half.

Things changed after the break as an Alejandro Cichero header put the hosts ahead 1-0 in the 48th minute.

However, Peru got back into the game. The team, coached by Julio Cesar Uribe, complained that Chelsea striker Claudio Pizarro was brought down in the box in the 61st minute but the referee did not award the likely penalty.

In the 77th minute, Venezuelan Ricardo Paez – son of national team coach Richard Paez – was shown a second yellow card for shooting a goal when the referee had already disallowed play for an offside.

Only one minute later, with both teams down to 10 men, substitute striker Daniel Arismendi made it 2-0 for Venezuela with a good, medium-distance shot.

The match ended in the rain, and both teams were lucky not to see additional men sent off after some wrangling.

"(The referee) did not show a good performance," Uribe said. "He is a human being and can make mistakes, too. We have to accept it."