Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese committed a horrendous error as Brazil ensured top spot in their Copa America group on Saturday with a 5-0 victory in Sao Paulo.
Goals from Casemiro, Roberto Firmino, Everton, Dani Alves and Willian ensured the Selecao would finish top of Group A and will play their quarter-final in Porto Alegre, potentially against out-of-sorts Argentina, their bitter rivals.With Peru already 1-0 down, it was Gallese’s dreadful error that led to Firmino’s goal and swept the mat from under Peru’s feet, with the game turning into a rout.
Darwin Machis scored a brace as Venezuela beat Bolivia 3-1 in Belo Horizonte and leapfrogged Peru into second place, securing a quarter-final at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana stadium.
Peru, who finish third on four points, must now wait nervously to see what happens in the other two groups on Sunday and Monday to find out if they will qualify for the knock-out rounds as one of the two best third-place finishers.
Hosts Brazil took an early lead in scrappy fashion when Philippe Coutinho’s corner was flicked on at the near post for Marquinhos to head goalwards from inside the six-yard box, with Gallese rooted to his line.
The ball came back off the post, grazed Marquinhos’s shoulder and was then headed over the line by Casemiro on 12 minutes.
The ball bounced back to Firmino who waltzed around the stranded Gallese and slotted the ball into the empty net on 19 minutes. Peru had barely been in the game but captain Paolo Guerrero did curl a free-kick over the top.Yet the match was effectively over as a contest on 32 minutes when Everton cut in off the left flank and fired a snap effort into the bottom corner, with Gallese a touch slow to react and beaten at his near post.
Alves was next in on the scoring act after playing a pair of one-twos with Arthur and Firmino before firing across Gallese on 53 minutes. Willian sealed the rout in the last minute with a stunning strike from the corner of the 18-yard box.
And there was still time for Gallese to give away and then save a Gabriel Jesus penalty in stoppage time.