Venezuela will take on Peru in the second match of Group A as the Copa América kicks off this weekend.
Considering hosts and favorites Brazil are in the same group, both the teams will look to pick a winner and wrest control of second place to qualify for the knockout stage. However, either side will still have the chance to be eligible as one of the best third-placed teams, but neither of them would want to leave it to chance.
Rafael Dudamel’s side failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup in Russia but are in decent form heading into the curtain-raiser. They beat the USA in their most recent match with a comfortable 3-0 scoreline with Premier League star Salomon Rondon bagging a brace.Embed from Getty Images
On the other hand, Peru did qualify for last year’s World Cup. Despite failing to advance, the Incas entertained in the group stages, backed by their vocal fans. However, they are not in the best of form leading to the match, having lost 3-0 to Colombia in their final preparatory game.Embed from Getty Images
In terms of tournament history, Venezuela have never won the Copa America while Peru are two-time champions, lifting the trophy in 1939 and 1975.
Now, both sides need to pick maximum points in this game along with the respective ones against Bolivia to stand a chance of qualification in this edition of the competition. While a result against Brazil is not impossible, both teams will know that this game could be a potential decider for second place.
Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez is expected to start from the bench for Venezuela with Rondon likely to start up front. Further, Dudamel could stick with the same starting XI that picked up a morale-boosting win against the USA.
Meanwhile, Ricardo Gareca is expected to start national legend Paolo Guerrero up top while veteran striker Jefferson Farfan will have to settle for a substitute spot.
Venezuela vs Peru Prediction
Both teams are as even as they can be. In the previous six meetings between the sides, both teams have won twice and drawn twice, highlighting how close the contest will be.
Further, Venezuela have won just 4 of their last nine games while Peru picked up only three wins in their previous 10, underlining the mixed form of both teams. La Vinotinto have opened the scoring in each of their last five games, and also in the previous two encounters with Peru.
Finally, any result between the sides in the previous six games were all by a one-goal margin, and this trend can be expected to continue. On current form, Venezuela are likely to edge out Peru and give themselves a high chance of progressing to the knockout stages.
Venezuela Predicted XI: Farinez; Hernandez, Chancellor, Villanueva, Rosales; Rincon, Moreno, Herrera; Savarino, Murillo, Rondon
Peru Predicted XI: Gallese; Advincula, Araujo, Abram, Trauco; Yotun, Tapia; Carrillo, Cueva, Flores; Guerrero