Group A was blown wide open on Saturday after Uruguay overcame a lacklustre Bolivia 1-0 and hosts Venezuela beat Peru 2-0 in a controversial encounter that gave them only their second Copa America win in 40 years.
The results mean that Venezuela top the group with four points, followed closely by Peru and Uruguay. Bolivia have just one point but all teams can still qualify for the quarter finals with a win in the final match.
The hosts win was marked by two pivotal refereeing decisions from Mexican Armando Archundia. His expulsion of Pedro Garcia in the 15th minute handed the momentum to Venezuela and they dominated possession thereafter.
They eventually took the lead through a header from Alejandro Cichero in the 49th minute but the game might have taken a different swing had Archundia awarded Peru a penalty in the 61st minute when Claudio Pizarro was pulled down in front of an open goal.
Instead, he waved play on and with 11 minutes of the game left Daniel Arismendi bagged a lovely individual goal to cement the win – a minute after his teammate Ricardo Paez had been sent off for childishly putting the ball in the net after the referee had blown for offside.
The match was hardly the most exciting contest but it was superior to the opening game of the evening in San Cristobal’s Pueblo Nuevo stadium.
Both Uruguay and Bolivia struggled to create any clear cut chances and it took a scrappy goal from Vicente Sanchez to give Uruguay the three points. Bolivia upped their game as the final whistle neared and it took two excellent saves from Fabian Carini to ensure they held on to the points.