Venezuela crashed out of the Copa America after they were beaten 1-0 by Peru in a forgettable final group game in Brasilia.
Starting the evening placed fifth out of five teams in Group B, Venezuela needed to better Ecuador’s result against defending champions Brazil as they took on opponents whose place in the knockout stages already looked safe.
However, Jose Peseiro’s Venezuela were beaten by Andre Carrillo’s second-half strike while their rivals for qualification held the tournament hosts to a draw to progress instead.
And that meant an early end to a disappointing campaign for Venezuela that returned just two points from four group-stages fixtures.
An understandably tense start to proceedings featured few chances, with two Jefferson Savarino efforts from distance providing the closest glimpse of goal for either side.
The second of those in fact created a gilt-edged opportunity for Sergio Cordova, but the Venezuela forward somehow conspired to head wide when presented with an open goal after a Pedro Gallese save.
Peru grew into the game from there, with Gianluca Lapadula and Sergio Pena bringing saves out of Wuilker Farinez before the break.
And La Blanquirroja picked up where they left off after the restart, with Carrillo reacting quickest when the ball dropped from a corner to smash the ball into the roof of the net.
That goal meant Venezuela were heading for the exit, and even worse news from Goiania followed, with Ecuador equalising against Brazil to strengthen their own chances of progressing.
With Venezuela’s situation looking desperate, Peseiro looked to his bench for inspiration, but his side struggled to create chances of note as they were held at arm’s length for the remainder by deserving winners Peru.
What does it mean? Peru good value
Although anything but progress to the knockout stages would have been considered disappointing, Peru have perhaps done better than they expected in beating Colombia to second place in the group.
Ricardo Gareca’s side claimed two wins and a draw from their four games, with their only defeat coming against the hosts Brazil. They will hope to keep that form strong for going deep into the knockout stages.
Cueva leads the way
Three key passes, one shot, five tackles and eight possession regains sum up an all-action performance from Peru midfielder Christian Cueva.
Cordova misses out
How different things could have been for Venezuela had Cordova not made a hash of that simple header early on – one of just two shots he managed across 78 minutes on the field.
Peru’s win secured them second place in Group B behind Brazil, setting up a meeting with the side that finishes third in Group A after the final round of fixtures are completed on Monday.