Mexico beat Ecuador 2-1

Updated: 03 July 2007 08:44 IST

Mexico progressed to the quarter finals of the Copa America on Sunday, following a 2-1 victory over Ecuador in Maturin, Venezuela, for their second consecu


The second round of matches in Group B of the 2007 Copa America got underway on Sunday at the Estadio Monumental in Maturin.

Having already seen Brazil beat Chile 3-0 earlier in the day, both Mexico and Ecuador were looking for three points.

Mexico caused the shock of the tournament last Wednesday when they beat the Brazilians 2-0 and the scorer of their first goal that night, Nery Castillo, opened the scoring again in the 22nd minute, after being put through by his captain, Barcelona's Rafael Marquez.

The Olympiacos striker took advantage of a slightly lucky bounce to round Ecuador goalkeeper Chrisitan Mora and slid the ball into an empty net.

Ecuador had lost their opener, conceding two late goals to go down 3-2 against Chile and now had to chase the game.

Luis Fernando Suarez's side had already seen a Ulises De La Cruz effort ruled out for offside before Oscar Bagui outpaced the Mexican defence on the left flank after 33 minutes. The cross found Christian Benitez, but his volley flashed wide of a post.

Mexico should have made it 2-0 at the break when Fernando Arce was put through on goal, but Mora stood firm for Arce's initial shot and defender Giovanny Espinoza was on hand to block the rebound.

Ecuador pressed forward in the second half and at times they played some high quality football, but their best efforts were thwarted by an inspired second half display from Oswaldo Sanchez in the Mexico goal.

The 33 year-old 'keeper produced a string of excellent saves to keep Ecuador at bay. Benitez was denied in the 61st minute with a low parry to his left, and the same player was frustrated again in the 76th minute when Sanchez dived to his right.

With time ticking away and Ecuador throwing more players forward, there was always a chance they would get hit on the break and so it proved.

With ten minutes left, substitute Cuauhtemoc Blanco produced an inch-perfect cross from the right and fellow replacement Omar Bravo scored with a neat header to make it 2-0.

Ecuador never gave up though, and with the help of a deflection, Edison Mendez pulled a goal back in the 85th minute but it proved to be no more than a consolation.

Mexico march on to the quarter finals with six points after their 2-1 victory, while Ecuador's chances of reaching the last eight now hang by a thread. They must beat Brazil by two goals in their last Group B game.

Topics : Football
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