Peru captain Claudio Pizarro scored the winner after 72 minutes, slamming a powerful shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar.

Venezuela played most of the match with 10 men after defender Fernando Amorebieta was sent off in the 29th minute for stamping on Paolo Guerrero, leaving the Peruvian striker with bleeding stud marks on his left thigh.

From then on the Peruvians dominated possession but, until Pizarro's late strike, struggled to break down an orderly Venezuelan defence. Peru face Colombia in their final group match on Sunday while Venezuela face Brazil, with all four in the hunt for a place in the last eight of the competition.

Venezuela made the brighter start and Salomon Rondon, the goalscorer against Colombia in their first match, almost put them ahead after six minutes but fired his close range volley into the arms of goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

The match changed with Amorebieta's dismissal. The defender tugged Guerrero to the ground and then stood on his thigh in an ugly and unneccesary challenge on the touchline.

Despite the numerical advantage, it took Peru a further 40 minutes to make the breakthrough. Guerrero and Christian Cueva combined well on the edge of the box to put Pizarro through on goal to score, sealing Peru's fifth victory over Venezuela in seven meetings at the Copa America.

Both sides defied expectations by reaching the semi-finals at the last Copa America in 2011 and both still have hopes of making at least the quarter-finals this time.

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