By DEBORA REY
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — A brace by Darwin Machis and a goal by Josef Martinez helped Venezuela beat Bolivia 3-1 and advance to the Copa America quarterfinals on Saturday.
Venezuela, which has never won the Copa America or qualified for a World Cup, finished Group A in second place to Brazil.
Peru finished third after being hammered by Brazil 5-0 and will have to wait for other results to know if it advances as one of the best third-placed teams.
Venezuela's adversary in the quarterfinals will be the second-place team in Group B, either Paraguay, Qatar or Argentina.
After two goalless draws with Peru and Brazil, Venezuela knew it had to bring its most attacking formation against Bolivia at Mineirao Stadium to advance. The team also had to work without its two central defenders, Yordan Osorio and Mikel Villanueva, one affected by injury and the other by a fever. Jhon Chancellor and Luis Mago stepped up.
Venezuela scored after only two minutes, when Machis headed a cross from Ronald Hernandez from the right. Only 4,640 people were at Mineirao Stadium to watch that moment.
The Vinotinto added a second in the 55th, Machis scoring from the edge of the box.
Leonel Justiniano reduced Bolivia's deficit in the 82nd, but Josef Martinez, who substituted Machis shortly before, secured the Venezuelan victory four minutes later.