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Peru face must-win game against Venezuela in World Cup qualifier

IANS logoIANS 22-03-2017

The Peruvians are currently eighth out of 10 teams in South America's Conmebol soccer confederation standings with six games remaining. They cannot afford anything less than three points at Monumental de Maturin Stadium in northeastern Venezuela on Thursday night against an opponent that is far out of contention, reports Efe.

Argentine head coach Ricardo Gareca has acknowledged the need to play aggressive football, virtually ensuring the presence of the attacking trio of midfielders Andre Carrillo and Christian Cueva and forward Paolo Guerrero, the Peruvian team's captain.

"With the situation we're in, we need to play to the limit of our abilities," Gareca said at a press conference. "We have a style and a way of playing, and we're convinced this can produce great results."

Gareca recently called up defender Renzo Revoredo, who plays for Lima club Sporting Cristal, to replace the injured Luis Advincula.

But even so, he may keep Revoredo on the bench and give defender Aldo Corzo the task of containing skillful Venezuelan midfielders Alejandro Guerra and Yeferson Soteldo on the right side.

For his part, Venezuelan coach Rafael Dudamel must decide whether to stick with Salomon Rondon, scoreless in his past 14 matches, or opt for Atlanta United FC forward Josef Martinez.

Martinez scored a hat-trick in a Major League Soccer (MLS) match earlier this month and also tallied three goals in Venezuela's previous home World Cup qualifying match - a 5-0 victory over Bolivia on Nov. 10.

Peru currently have 14 points, five fewer than fifth-place Argentina, which is currently on course to claim a berth in the World Cup qualifying inter-confederation playoffs against a team from Oceania.

The top four teams in the Conmebol standings after 18 matches will earn direct berths in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Brazil currently sit atop the Conmebol table with 27 points, followed by Uruguay (23 points), Ecuador (20 points) and Chile (20 points).

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