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It was time for another footballing fiesta in The South American jamboree. Two depleted outfits looking to prove their title of ‘Challengers’. Venezuela and Ecuador faced off in a mouth-watering clash in Rio. Three points could have stamped the team’s authority in Group-B. Other than Brazil, Copa America’s second group consists of underdogs. None of the armies was deemed as favourites before the tournament igniting a sense of fightback in the squads.

José Peseiro’s tactics worked magically well for Ecuador as the team in yellow created waves and waves of attacks constantly exploiting immense amounts of space behind the defence. And in the 39th minute, Ecuador’s lightning right-wing Ayrton Preciado disturbed the scoreline. A scrappy goal to concede, Venezuela’s visible frustration looked imminent.



The second half was the opposite of what the world witnessed in the first half. Ecuador was nothing less than a shadow of themselves whereas Venezuela sniffed an opportunity to grab a point or three. An opportunity came beckoning in the 61st minute and Venezuela welcomed the offer with a bright smile and a brilliant Castillo header. Superb delivery and a magnificent header to equalise the scoring and spoil the Ecuadorian party.




With galaxies of chances in front of Venezuela, a fairytale story was on the cards. But the lack of experience hurt La Vinotinto, as Ecuador’s jaw-dropping counter-attacks stabbed the dreams of Venezuela fans. An exemplary strike by Gonzalo Plata increased Ecuador’s advantage as Alfaro’s troops looked to march on to three points.


But a last-ditch effort by Hernandez meant Venezuela left Brazil with one point as the 91st-minute strike by the Atalanta man equalised the scoring at 2-2.



A covid-19 struck Venezuela army was battling hard to keep their heads high in the South American competition. With a demolition by favourites and reigning champions Brazil and then a valiant draw against Colombia, Venezuela was already in deep waters in Group-B. An audacious first-half display, bravely defending with their hearts against a dominant Ecuador side, Jose Peseiro was a happy man. Although Ecuador’s unimaginable 10 shots had to reap results someday or the other.



La Tricolor’s match-defining moment came just minutes before the referee’s first half-whistle. With just 6 minutes left for the break, Ayrton Preciado gave Ecuador the much-needed advantage to change the complexion of the game. A ball perfectly delivered in the middle of the box as Ecuador smashed their maiden goal of this year’s Copa America. The Ecuadorian strikers managed to pounce on the first header of a looping delivery but it almost reached the hands of Wuilker Farinez.




But Ecuador snatched the meat of his hands as the ball landed in Preciado’s path who had an open net and a dream to fulfil. A thunderous strike to find the back of the net as Ecuador broke the deadlock. The Venezuela players wanted technology to intervene and overturn the decision but VAR followed the referee’s paths as Ecuador went into the break one goal to the good.




Venezuela’s fightback started in the second half of the game. After the half-time interval, Ecuador looked switched-off for a few minutes and La Vinotinto looked to sweep in a goal or two. Constantly threatening Pedro Ortiz goal the Venezuela strikers weren’t afraid to test him with some electrifying rockets. With one goal down and redemption in their eyes, Venezuela started opening the Ecuadorian defence. Once again the magical moment arrived six minutes into the second instalment of the game.



A precise move with inch-perfect passes as the ball arrived in Jose Martinez’s feet. Nicknamed ‘El Brujo’, the Philadelphia winger delivered a scooped cross inviting Edson Castillo. Caracas’ talismanic striker accepted the invite with open hands as he headed home to equalise the scoring for his team. The Ecuadorian keeper was left rooted to his spot, as the header smashed the roof of the net to delete Ecuador’s advantage. Venezuela looked ambitious and hungry since Castillo smashed the header, as the tables had turned in Rio. Ecuador’s domination was overtaken as the fighters were ready to outshine the kings.



Ecuador had three points in their mouth but Venezuela’s brilliance conquered the Ecuadorian fortress. With just 2 minutes left before the referee’s final whistle, Venezuela could sniff an opportunity as they battled hard for possession in the centre of the pitch. The last knockings of the game produced a banging moment as Atalanta’s forward Ronald Hernandez sneaked ahead all alone. None of the yellow defenders caught his run other than the overwhelming ball over the top.



A fantastic ball and a beautiful headed goal to beat Ortiz as he was planted to his spot. The goalkeeper hadn’t predicted this moment of magic and stood three or four yards in front of his line as Hernandez lobbed the ball over his head. A leaping effort by the goalkeeper wasn’t enough to stop the veteran from bagging his first goal in international jersey as the scoreline was at 2-2. With the points shared, Venezuela will surely see this as a win whereas, for Ecuador, some harsh words from Alfaro awaits.

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