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Classy Brazil reach Copa last eight

Classy Brazil reach Copa last eight
Brazil teammates congratulate Everton after he scored his side’s third goal during their Copa America match against Peru in Sao Paulo. (AP)
SAO PAULO, Jun 23 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 6/23/2019 12:00:30 PM IST

Brazil overwhelmed Peru with three goals in a superb first half to set up a crushing 5-0 victory on Saturday and cruise into the Copa America quarter-finals.

Looking like their imperious old selves in front of 42,000 fans at the Corinthians area, the host nation went ahead after 12 minutes when Casemiro nodded home after a goalmouth scramble and Roberto Firmino made it two seven minutes later after keeper Pedro Gallese made a hash of his kick out.

Firmino charged down the kick and the ball rebounded off the post but the forward picked up the rebound and rounded the keeper to roll the ball into the empty goal.

Man of the Match Everton added a third when he cut in from the left and unleashed a low shot that sneaked inside Gallese’s near post and Dani Alves made it 4-0 eight minutes into the second half when he finished off a neat team move and lashed the ball into the roof of the net.

Substitute Willian made it five with a vicious strike from outside the box in the final minute, before Gallese made up for his earlier error by saving a spot-kick from Gabriel Jesus in stoppage time. 

The result, combined with Venezuela’s 3-1 win over Bolivia, means the hosts top Group A and will play one of the two third-placed teams at the Gremio arena on Thursday.

The only down side for Brazil was a second yellow card in three games for Casemiro, which means the combative Real Madrid midfielder will miss Thursday’s quarter-final.

Second-placed Venezuela will face the second team in Group B on Friday at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, while Peru must wait to see if their four points are enough to earn them a place as one of the two best third-placed sides.

Venezuela beat Bolivia to advance

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.

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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