Guerrero treble lifts Peru into s-finals

TEMUCO (Chile) - Four years after raising eyebrows with a third-placed finish, Peru remained the surprise package at the Copa America.

On Thursday, Peru - and striker Paolo Guerrero - will have likely caught the attention of the remaining teams, if not hosts Chile, who they will face in the semi-finals after a comfortable 3-1 victory over Bolivia.

Guerrero scored a hat-trick, netting twice in three minutes midway through the first half to put Peru in the driving seat in their quarter-final clash in the southern Chilean city of Temuco.

His first was a header from a Juan Vargas cross, his second came on the counter-attack after a corner, and his third arrived in the 74th minute when Bolivian midfielder Danny Bejarano presented him the ball with a misplaced pass and left him one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Marcelo Moreno scored a late consolation from the penalty spot but Peru were never in danger of losing and will face Chile on Monday in the first of the semi-finals.

"We're getting better and better," said Guerrero. "Not many people had confidence in us but once again, we're showing that we're a good side."

Peru dominated from the outset and could have been out of sight by the break.

After Guerrero's double, his striking partner Jefferson Farfan grazed a post and then rattled the crossbar with a curling free kick.

Bolivia's best chance came from a Moreno header which Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese did well to parry. The Bolivians rallied slightly in the second half and had a penalty appeal turned down after Gallese appeared to bring down midfielder Pablo Escobar.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2015, with the headline 'Guerrero treble lifts Peru into s-finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe