Peru v Venezuela: Gareca's men look to continue impressive streak

By Sports Desk June 26, 2021

Peru need only to avoid defeat to make sure of progression to the Copa America quarter-finals when they face Venezuela on Sunday.

Under Ricardo Gareca, Peru have done an excellent job of not losing games in the Copa America, aside when they have faced Brazil.

They lost 4-0 to Brazil in their second Group B encounter but Peru are unbeaten in their last 10 Copa games against all other opponents, a run that stretches back to 2015.

Gareca's men made it all the way to the final in 2019, losing 3-1 to Brazil, but before they can think about a similar run this year Peru must ensure they do not suffer a slip-up against the tournament minnows.

Venezuela are bottom of the group but draws against Colombia and Ecuador have kept them in the hunt for progression.

Those draws came despite Venezuela having only 35 per cent of possession in the Colombia game and 31.2 per cent of the ball versus Ecuador.

But a point will not be enough for Venezuela to reach the knockouts, only a win will do if they are to reach the last eight for the third successive tournament.

To claim victory, Venezuela will need to maintain the clinical form they displayed in the second half against Ecuador, in which they scored from their only two shots on target of the period.

A win for Peru will see them finish second in the group, though that could mean a quarter-final meeting with the only other team to beat them in the Copa under Gareca, Chile, who were 2-1 winners in the 2015 semi-finals.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Peru - Christian Cueva

If Peru are to secure progression in style then the creative burden will likely fall on the shoulders of Cueva, who created two chances in their 2-2 draw with Ecuador last time out. He has six chances created in the tournament, though only one assist.

Venezuela - Edson Castillo

Midfielder Castillo was instrumental in Venezuela's draw with Ecuador. He had three shots, with two on target, scored their first equaliser and then teed up substitute Ronald Hernandez for a 91st-minute leveller.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- The last three meetings between Venezuela and Peru have ended level, two have finished 2-2 and they played out a goalless draw at the Copa America in 2019.

- Venezuela have just lost once in their last five Copa America games against sides not hosting the tournament, their only defeat came against Argentina in the 2019 quarter-finals.

- Venezuela are the team with the lowest average possession in the 2021 Copa America (35.1%). Three of the five games with the lowest possession were for Venezuela: v Ecuador (31.2%), v Colombia (35%) and v Brazil (38.3%).

- Peru have conceded the most goals in the group stage (7), with eliminated Bolivia second (6).

Related items

  • No surprises from Ancelotti as Real Madrid coach stands by Champions League final XI No surprises from Ancelotti as Real Madrid coach stands by Champions League final XI

    Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti named the same team to start against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Super Cup as he did for the Champions League final victory over Liverpool.

    Ancelotti had already confirmed his team would be the same as the one that started in Paris, and he followed through on that pledge for Wednesday's clash in Helsinki.

    Thibaut Courtois was the star of the show in the 1-0 win over Liverpool on May 28, and the Belgian kept his place in goal behind a defence of Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba and Ferland Mendy, with new arrival Antonio Rudiger among the substitutes.

    Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro were given the nod in midfield, while Federico Valverde and Vinicius Junior – who combined for the winner at the Stade de France – would flank Karim Benzema, who is one goal away from passing Raul as the outright second-highest goalscorer in Madrid's illustrious history, behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Madrid's bench included Rodrygo, a hero of their Champions League campaign, and Aurelien Tchouameni, another new signing.

    Meanwhile, Eintracht coach Oliver Glasner made two changes to his starting XI following Saturday's 6-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

    One of those alterations was enforced, with star player Filip Kostic absent from the squad as he closes in on a move to Juventus.

    He has been replaced by Christopher Lenz, while former Bayern and Borussia Dortmund playmaker Mario Gotze made way for Daichi Kamada.

    Madrid are in the hunt for a fifth Super Cup triumph. The last time Los Blancos met Eintracht, they triumphed 7-3 in Glasgow in the 1960 European Cup final.

  • Malang Sarr leaves Chelsea for Monaco on loan with purchase option Malang Sarr leaves Chelsea for Monaco on loan with purchase option

    Chelsea have allowed Malang Sarr to join Monaco on loan with an option to buy.

    The 23-year-old centre-back will move to the Ligue 1 club for the 2022-23 season, with Monaco then able to make the arrangement permanent for a reported €15million (£12.7m).

    Monaco's purchase option could become mandatory if certain conditions are met, according to widespread reports.

    Sarr joined Chelsea on a free transfer in August 2020 but was soon sent out on loan to Porto, where he made 19 appearances across all competitions.

    He returned to Stamford Bridge for the 2021-22 season and became a member of the first-team squad, playing 21 times on all fronts, though only eight of those were in the Premier League.

    In joining Monaco, Sarr returns to Ligue 1 after a two-year absence having previously been regarded as one of the most promising young defenders in Europe during his breakthrough as a teenager at Nice.

    Sarr is Monaco's fourth signing of the window after Takumi Minamino, Breel Embolo and Thomas Didillon.

    Monaco saw their Champions League qualification hopes ended on Tuesday when a 3-2 defeat after extra time away to PSV saw them suffer a 4-3 aggregate loss in the penultimate stage of qualifying.

     

  • Browns return specialist Grant to miss season with torn Achilles Browns return specialist Grant to miss season with torn Achilles

    Cleveland Browns standout return specialist Jakeem Grant will miss the 2022 season with a torn left Achilles tendon, head coach Kevin Stefanski announced Wednesday. 

    Grant, a second team All-Pro as a punt returner in each of the last two seasons, was hurt during Tuesday's practice and underwent an MRI that confirmed the injury. 

    "I really feel awful for Jakeem," Stefanski said in a statement. "We've witnessed how hard the young man has worked since he got to our team. 

    "We all realise injuries are a part of our game, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept, especially for someone that works as hard and carries himself like Jakeem."

    The Browns signed Grant to a three-year contract worth up to $13.8million in March to be their primary return man and compete for snaps at slot receiver after the team released Jarvis Landry. 

    One of the game's premier returners, Grant has averaged 10.3 yards per punt return with four touchdowns and 24.5 yards per kick return with two touchdowns over six NFL seasons. His six combined touchdowns on kick and punt returns since 2016 are tied with Jacksonville Jaguars' Jamal Agnew for the most in the league over that period. 

    As a receiver, Grant has totaled 100 catches for 1,140 yards and seven touchdowns for his career. The 29-year-old had career highs of 36 receptions and 373 receiving yards with the Miami Dolphins in 2020. 

    A sixth-round pick of the Dolphins in 2016, Grant had spent his entire career with Miami before being traded to the Chicago Bears in October.  

    Grant's injury gives rookie David Bell, a third-round pick in this year's draft, the inside track to be Cleveland's No. 3 receiver behind Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. Second-year pro Demetric Felton will likely take over on returns barring any additional roster moves.  

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.