ECUADOR ROUT VENEZUELA, PARAGUAY STUNNED

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ECUADOR romped to a com­fort­able 3-0 vic­tory over Venezuela to reignite their 2018 World Cup qualifying chal­lenge yes­ter­day as Paraguay’s bid suf­fered a set­back with a de­feat to strug­gling Bo­livia. Ecuador, who had taken only a point from their pre­vi­ous two games, proved too strong for a Venezuela side buoyed by a 5-0 win over Bo­livia last week. Ar­turo Mina headed Ecuador ahead in the 51st minute be­fore the hosts cut loose in the fi­nal 10 min­utes as Venezuela swarmed for­ward in search of an equaliser. Miler Bo­nanos tapped in from close range to com­plete a sweep­ing Ecuador counter-at­tack and make the game safe on 82 min­utes. Four min­utes later it was left to Ever­ton’s En­ner Va­len­cia to ap­ply the coup de grace, fin­ish­ing calmly past Daniel Her­nan­dez to make it 3-0 af­ter Venezuela were left ex­posed at the back once more. The win sees Ecuador move into third place in the South Amer­i­can stand­ings with 20 points from 12 games. In yes­ter­day’s early game, Paraguay’s hopes of bat­tling into the top half of the ta­ble suf­fered a set­back with a 1-0 de­feat against Bo­livia in La Paz. A Gus­tavo Gomez own goal in the 78th minute se­cured all three points for Bo­livia, who moved off the bot­tom with the win.

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