Ecuador fight­back thwarts Peru at Copa Amer­ica

Coutinho hat-trick as Brazil crush Haiti

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS -

GLEN­DALE (United States)—Ecuador frus­trated Peru’s hopes of seal­ing their Copa Amer­ica Cen­te­nario quar­ter-fi­nal berth on Wed­nes­day, fight­ing back from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw.

A su­perb strike from West Ham’s En­ner Va­len­cia and a se­cond half ef­fort from Brazil-based mid­fielder Miller Bolanos com­pleted a gutsy fight­back for Ecuador who had ear­lier gone 2-0 down in­side the first 13 min­utes.

Peru, who had beaten Haiti in their open­ing Group B game on Satur­day, ap­peared to be cruis­ing into the last eight af­ter the early ef­forts from Chris­tian Cueva and Edi­son Flores.

But Ecuador’s fight­back leaves Group B evenly poised head­ing into the fi­nal round of games.

Peru are level with Brazil on four points at the top of the standings but trail with a vastly in­fe­rior goal dif­fer­ence af­ter the Brazil­ians’ 7-1 Wed­nes­day.

Peru meet Brazil in their fi­nal group game on Sun­day. A night that be­gan as a dream come true for Haiti ended as a night­mare as the Caribbean team were crushed 7-1 by Brazil in their Copa Amer­ica Cen­te­nario game on Wed­nes­day.

Haiti has never fea­tured in the Copa Amer­ica be­fore and never faced Brazil in an of­fi­cial game, and given the huge pop­u­lar­ity of Brazil­ian foot­ball on the Caribbean is­land, the game was one of the big­gest in decades for the coun­try. But 3-0 down at half-time against a Brazil team who played with free­dom and flair, Haiti were un­able to avoid a hefty de­feat.

“It was def­i­nitely a his­toric mo­ment but it wasn’t a mo­ment un­for­tu­nately that we will want to re­mem­ber,” said mid­fielder Jean-Marc Alexan­dre. “It is a bit­ter­sweet mo­ment for us.” maul­ing of Haiti ear­lier

The ex­pe­ri­enced Alexan­dre, who plays in the se­cond tier North Amer­i­can Soc­cer League for Fort Laud­erdale Strik­ers, said he was par­tic­u­larly per­turbed by the way the team fell apart later in the game.

“Even at half-time when we were down 3-0 our spirit was still in it. The early goal af­fected us men­tally a bit but even at the break we still had hope,” he said.

“But in the se­cond half I felt like we com­pletely lost con­trol of the game.”

Haiti have been mak­ing steady im­prove­ment in re­cent years and they qual­i­fied for the Copa Amer­ica af­ter beat­ing Trinidad and Tobago.

Cred­itable per­for­mances against Spain and Italy in pre-World Cup friendlies two years ago boosted con­fi­dence and then an im­pres­sive CONCACAF Gold Cup cam­paign last year, where Haiti reached the quar­ter-fi­nals, con­firmed the steps for­ward.—AFP

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