Ecuador defeated Mexico 2-1 in Group A action today, with the loss sending El Tri packing as their 2015 Copa America has come to an end.
The result means both Chile and Bolivia are through to the knockout rounds before they kick off tonight, while Ecuador needs some favorable results from other matches to possibly move on.
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Vicente Vuoso continued his surprise run as Mexico’s top target, and the former Manchester City man nearly put El Tri ahead in the opening minutes. The striker pick-pocketed Juan Carlos Paredes at the top of the box, took one touch and fired just wide of the net.
Mexico controlled most of the possession early on, but Ecuador always looked dangerous on the counter attack and opened the scoring against the run of play in the 26th minute. Miller Bolanos broke free at midfield with Enner Valencia to his left and led a quick counter towards the goal, dishing off to Valencia who tried to curl a shot to the back post. Valencia’s shot was deflected and headed wide, but Bolanos continued his run and fired home from a tight angle to put Ecuador up 1-0.
Bolanos and Valencia teamed up again after the break to double Ecuador’s lead, with Valencia finding the back of the net this time. It was another quick counter, as Osbaldo Lastra gained possession and played a ball up to Bolanos, who then slotted Valencia through. The Mexican defense was caught out of position and Valencia was clinical with his finish. The West Ham striker now has 13 goals in 22 appearances for Ecuador, a brilliant record for his country.
With Ecuador clinging on to survival through goal differential, their chances of advancing took a big hit in the 64th minute, when Gabriel Achilier wrestled down Hugo Ayala in the box. It was a clear penalty as referee Jose Argote pointed to the spot, and Raul Jiminez stepped up and fired right down the middle to cut Ecuador’s lead to one.
El Tri knew they needed a result to survive, but without their top players in the lineup, failed to create many solid opportunities as Miguel Herrera’s side becomes the first to bow out of the 2015 Copa America.