COPA AMERICA 2021 PREVIEW: ECUADOR VS PERU, LA TRI STILL IN SEARCH OF THEIR FIRST WIN AS PERU AIMS FOR SECOND VICTORY

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has begun and teams are starting to find their groove as the group stage matches go on. The matches are getting more and more intense as the knockout phase approaches. It鈥檚 still an open race for the bottom-placed teams in their groups with many games still to play. Ecuador is currently last in Group B but a win against Peru can send them to second place.

 

 

Ecuador will face Peru on Wednesday, June 23 in an important fixture for their hopes of finishing top four in the group. A close 1-0 defeat to Colombia despite having more control over the game gave a disappointing start to their campaign. Against Venezuela, they took the lead twice but the covid-hit team foiled Ecuador鈥檚 plans with an injury-time equaliser.

 

 

Gustavo Alfaro鈥檚 side has won just one of their last five matches but this one would be an important game considering they are yet to play Brazil.

The Peruvian side came into the tournament completely out of touch and in worrying form, having won only one match in two years. In their opening game of the tournament, Brazil thrashed them 4-0, and the frustration was clearly visible. Ricardo Gareca motivated them to bounce back, and bounce back they did, defeating Colombia in the next match.

 

 

La Blanquirroja defeated Ecuador in their last meeting in the World Cup qualifiers earlier this month and will aim to repeat the triumph.

 

TEAM NEWS

Ecuador鈥檚 right-winger Gonzalo Plata got an injury in the first match and had to be substituted, but he returned against Venezuela as a substitute and scored an important second goal for his side. Gustavo Alfaro has no major injury concerns in the squad as of now and will play his strongest eleven against Peru.

 

 

Alfaro deploys a 4-4-2 formation, keeping his backline safe and secure while the two strikers and wide midfielders create the goalscoring chances.

Ecuador Probable Lineup: Ortiz; Estupinan, Hincapie, Arboleda, Angelo Preciado; Ayrton Preciado, Caicedo, Mendez, Plata; Valencia, Estrada

 

Ricardo Gareca has been feeling the absence of Paolo Guerrero in the starting lineup but the veteran striker spent most of the season out injured, forcing Gareca to keep him out of the squad. There aren鈥檛 any other injury concerns for Peru as they prepare to face Ecuador on Wednesday.

 

 

Peru is expected to go with the same 4-2-3-1 formation, with Yoshimar Youth and Renato Tapia as the central midfielders.

Peru Probable Lineup: Gallese; Lopez, Callens, Ramos, Corzo; Tapio, Yotun, Carrillo, Cuevo, Pena, Lapadula

 

GAME CHANGERS

Gonzalo Plata has scored two of Ecuador鈥檚 last three goals and has been one of their primary attacking outputs when on the field. The 20-year old youngster will yet again be a crucial part of Gustavo Alfaro鈥檚 plans now that he鈥檚 fit and he will cause problems for the Peruvian defence with his wide range of skills and brilliant finishing ability.

 

 

The Sporting CP winger is difficult to contain and likes to cut in and find a shot at the goal but is also a great passer of the ball who can create chances for the two strikers.

Peru鈥檚 goalscoring responsibility will yet again be on the shoulders of Andre Carrillo. The 30-year old winger has taken the leadership role in the attack since the absence of Paolo Guerrero and has been providing for the team in all possible ways. He has been quiet in Copa America till now, but the match against Ecuador can be the perfect stage for him to perform at.

 

 

Ricardo Gareca plays him on the right-wing, giving him the freedom to play with the ball and use his creativity to split open defences. He, alongside Gianluca Lapadula, will pose the biggest threat to Pedro Ortiz鈥檚 goal.

 

PREDICTION

Peru is the stronger side of the two and certainly the favourites to win. However, the Copa America is the finest stage for major upsets and the last edition鈥檚 runner ups can鈥檛 be casual about it. It looks like an evenly poised battle, with the team to score first likely to win.

FootTheBall predicts a 1-0 win for Peru.

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