San Cristobal, Venezuela:Venezuela won for the first time in 40 years at the Copa America on Saturday, beating Peru 2-0 to climb atop Group A and put itself in position to reach the quarterfinals.
The victory was only its second in 47 matches at the Copa America and first since a 3-0 win over Bolivia in 1967. Playing before a home crowd, Venezuela improved to four points, one better than Peru and Uruguay and three ahead of Bolivia. The top two teams from each of the three groups advance along with the two best third-place teams.
After playing with a man advantage for 35 minutes, defender Alejandro Cichero gave Venezuela the lead in the 49th, outleaping the Peru defense and heading Ricardo Maldonado's corner kick inside the right post.
Despite Ricardo Paez's expulsion for a second yellow card in the 78th minute, substitute Daniel Arismendi doubled the lead a minute later, driving a ball low on rain-soaked pitch from outside the area past diving Peru keeper Leao Butron.
Pedro Garcia put Peru in a hole early, sent off in the 14th minute for elbowing striker Ricardo Maldonado in the face during a tussle for the ball at midfield. Maldonado also was yellow carded in the scuffle.
"This team is focused on making history and winning respect on the field," manager Richard Paez said.
Besides its two victories, Venezuela has eight draws and 37 losses in Copa America play.
Prior to its opening 2-2 draw with Bolivia on Tuesday, Venezuela had been outscored 149-29.
Ricardo Paez, the manager's son, was sent off with his second yellow card for ignoring an offside whistle and kicking the ball into the net.
Venezuela faces Uruguay in its final match Tuesday in Merida. Bolivia and Peru meet in the first Group A match.