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Copa America highlights: Low Ecuador keeps Brazil without Neymar for a 1-1 draw

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Image source: AP

Angel Mena of Ecuador (far right) celebrates after scoring the equalizer against Brazil in Sao Paulo on Sunday night.

Ecuador held Brazil with fewer forces to a 1-1 draw on Sunday to secure a place in the Copa America quarterfinals.

Neymar, defender Thiago Silva and striker Gabriel Jesus did not play against Ecuador at the Olimpico Stadium in Goiania.

The draw moved Ecuador to fourth place in Group B, eliminating Venezuela and possibly preparing for a quarterfinal match against Argentina. Brazil had already secured first place in the group before the start of the match, which allowed coach Tito to continue testing his team in view of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The defending champions opened the scoring in the 37th minute with a header from Eder Militao after a corner. Angel Mena equalized for Ecuador in the 53rd minute when he finished with a corner kick in front of goalkeeper Alison. The draw ended a series of 10 consecutive victories in Brazil.

Brazil’s next challenge will be against either Uruguay or Chile, the two teams that could finish fourth in Group A.

Ecuador coach Gustavo Alfaro is confident that his team will face Argentina in the next stage of the tournament, but added that the draw with Brazil gives him confidence.

“We know who we are and that we can have a good game like the one we had against Colombia, Peru and Brazil. There’s no reason we can’t do it against Argentina, “said Alfaro, who is Argentine. “We respect the hierarchy of Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina, but we are not afraid. I want them to play as before. “

Brazilian defender Marquinhos said the game against Ecuador was important for Brazil, “so that all the players on the team have at least some time to play so that everyone can be ready when the knockout starts.” “Besides,” he added, “the players who were tired rested so they could go to the knockout and play their best.”

Marquinhos also expressed concern about the pitch at Nilton Santos Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, where Brazil will play in the quarterfinals and, if it wins, in the semifinals of the tournament.

Peru beat Venezuela 1-0 with a goal by Andre Carrillo in the 48th minute. The Venezuelans needed a victory to advance to the playoffs. The Peruvians started the tournament, forged by Brazil with 4: 0, but recovered after a 2: 1 victory over Colombia. The 2: 2 draw against Ecuador had already put the team close to securing its place in the knockout.

“Peru overcame itself as the matches continued. “We played against very intense teams and we didn’t have much time to recover,” said coach Ricardo Gareca.

Group B finished with Brazil with 10 points, followed by Peru (7), Colombia (4), Ecuador (3) and Venezuela (2). The top four in each group advanced. Argentina leads Group A, which will be decided on Monday.

Lionel Messi’s team can lose first place only if they fail to beat the already eliminated Bolivia and Paraguay wins against Uruguay.

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