Venezuela down Bolivia 3-1, move to Copa America quarters

Venezuela down Bolivia 3-1, move to Copa America quarters

Belo Horizonte (Brazil) June 23 (IANS) Venezuelan striker Darwin Machis got his team into the Copa America quarterfinals as he showed the Bolivia squad what its day was going to be like by slamming the ball into the net just 75 seconds into the match, which led the way to a 3-1 Venezuela victory.

On Saturday, a lightning header by Machis scored the fastest Copa America goal of this century, quicker than the 88 seconds that Costa Rican Johan Venegas needed against Colombia in 2016, reports Efe news.

Meanwhile, Bolivia throughout was soft on defence, uncertain on the attack, and also had little luck in the first half as two promising shots bounced off the goal posts guarded by Venezuelan keeper Wuilker Farinez, who is having a great run in the Copa America.

Two squads without wins (two defeats for Bolivia, two ties for Venezuela) came to Belo Horizonte’s Mineirao Stadium with one aim in mind: to win.

Surprisingly, Bolivia coach Eduardo Villegas decided to keep one of his best players, Alejandro Chumacero, on the bench, while Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel had to change his two central defenders because of Mikel Villanueva’s feverish rash and Yordan Osorio’s injury, and added playmaker Juanpi Anor, who did his part in leading the Venezuelan offensive.

The second half began much like the first, with Bolivia attempting and Venezuela achieving, and with the identical result: a powerful shot by Christian Arano from outside the area did not bounce off the post this time but was blocked by Farinez. Then five minutes later, at minute 55, Machis struck again from just outside the box to make it 2-0.

But Bolivia never gave up and its tenacity was rewarded at minute 82 when a shot by Leonel Justiniano got the Andean team back in the game 2-1, and Venezuela had its moments of concern.

Not to worry — just four minutes later Venezuela’s Josef Martinez took a cross from Yeferson Soteldo and headed it into the net to wrap the game up 3-1.

Machis’s brace and an excellent performance by a team that has never won a Copa America put Venezuela in second place in the quarter-finals, behind host Brazil, which for its part wiped out Peru 5-0.

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