All 4 Group C teams still in q-finals hunt

Claudio Pizarro finally settled the match in favour of Peru after Venezuela had provided stiff resistance despite having one player sent off.
Claudio Pizarro finally settled the match in favour of Peru after Venezuela had provided stiff resistance despite having one player sent off.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

VALPARAISO (Chile) - Peru beat 10-man Venezuela 1-0 at the Copa America on Thursday to leave all four Group C teams level on points with one more first-round match left to play.

Peru captain Claudio Pizarro scored the winner after 72 minutes, slamming a powerful shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar.

Venezuela played most of the tie with 10 men after defender Fernando Amorebieta was sent off in the 29th minute for stamping on Paolo Guerrero, leaving the Peruvian striker with bleeding stud marks on his left thigh.

From then on, the Peruvians dominated possession but, until Pizarro's strike, could not breach an orderly Venezuelan defence.

Peru face Colombia in their final group match on Sunday while Venezuela take on Brazil, with all four in the quest for a place in the last eight of the competition.

Brazil's Neymar and Colombia striker Carlos Bacca will miss their respective matches after being provisionally suspended for one match after they were sent off in their teams' Copa clash.

Wednesday's Group C match in Santiago, which Colombia won 1-0, was marred by scuffles involving most of the players at the final whistle and Chilean referee Enrique Osses showed Neymar and Bacca the red card.

The tournament's disciplinary tribunal has given the Brazilian and Colombian football federations 24 hours to prepare a case for their defence and sanctions will be announced this morning (Singapore time).

Neymar had hit out at officials following Brazil's first defeat in 12 matches. But former Colombia international Faustino Asprilla criticised the Barcelona forward's perceived theatrics instead.

"Neymar is a footballing lie," former Newcastle striker Asprilla wrote on Twitter. "Neymar, just go to Hollywood already!"

There was already bad blood between Neymar and the Colombian team heading into the match.

The Brazilian suffered a fractured vertebra when Colombia's Juan Camilo Zuniga collided with him in their World Cup quarter-final clash last July.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2015, with the headline 'All 4 Group C teams still in q-finals hunt'. Print Edition | Subscribe