LIMA, July 6 (Reuters) - Defending Copa America champions Colombia survived a second-half onslaught to hold off Venezuela 1-0 in an entertaining opening match of the tournament on Tuesday.
Striker Tressor Moreno scored the winner with a twice-taken
penalty in the 22nd minute after Venezuelan goalkeeper Gilberto
Angelucci was harshly adjudged to have brought him down as he
burst into the box.
Moreno, Colombia's best player in the first half, had to
retake the kick after Brazilian referee Marcio Rezende de
Rezende disallowed his first effort because his team mates had
encroached into the penalty area.
Venezuela have only one Copa America victory to their name
against Bolivia in 1967, but were hopeful of making a good start
in Group A of the 12-team tournament after an unprecedented run
of good results in World Cup qualifiers.
They dominated the second half and created plenty of chances
but were repeatedly denied by Colombia goalkeeper Juan Carlos
The 'Red Wines' almost snatched an equaliser from a swerving
Juan Arango free kick in the 85th minute, which was turned
around the post by Henao with a low dive to his left.
The Venezuelans also had a goal disallowed for offside early
in the second half and Colombia were lucky to survive a
lacklustre display that did not match up to their slick
performance in the first 45 minutes.
Their only real chance after the break came in the 88th
minute when David Ferreira passed the ball across the open
goalmouth from the left flank to an unmarked Jairo Patino, who
fluffed an easy opportunity from close range.
Ferreira also produced one of the moments of the match in
the 45th minute after a brilliant run down the right wing, only
to fire the ball straight at Angelucci from five metres.
Colombia play Bolivia their next match on Friday and hosts
Peru meet Venezuela.