Cyprus Mail
Football

Ecuador maintains perfect start, wins for Argentina and Brazil

Filipe Luis (R) of Brazil celebrates after scoring against Peru

Midfielder Lucas Biglia scored a 20th minute goal to kick start Argentina’s World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-0 away win over Colombia at the Metropolitano on Tuesday.

It was Argentina’s first win in four qualifiers and leaves them with five points, still well behind leaders Ecuador, who had upset them 2-0 at home in their opening match last month.

Biglia began the attack in the Argentina half, Ever Banega carried on the move with a pass out to Ezequiel Lavezzi on the right and his low cross beat David Ospina, allowing Biglia, following up, to tap into the unguarded net.

Argentina had chances to make the result safer but substitute striker Paulo Dybala had a goal disallowed and minutes later hit the post.

An inspired performance from Douglas Costa helped Brazil to a 3-0 win over Peru on Tuesday and lifted them into third place in the South American qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Costa scored the first after 21 minutes and then laid on the second for Renato Augusto 12 minutes into the second half. Filipe Luis grabbed a third in 76 minutes after the keeper parried Costa’s ferocious drive from the right wing.

“It was very important to win after the draw in Argentina and we did well,” said Luis, who scored his first international goal. “The team is growing and getting better every game and we are finding a style of play that we want.”

Ecuador ruthlessly exposed Venezuela’s defensive frailties on their way to a 3-1 win which kept them top of the South American World Cup qualifiers with a perfect record on Tuesday.

Jefferson Montero, scorer of the second goal, was at the heart of Ecuador’s best moves as they pulled the hosts apart to make it four wins in as many games in the single 10-team group.

Venezuela, who have never qualified for a World Cup, are bottom of the table after losing all four games.

After a lively start by the home side, Fidel Martinez had the ball in the net in the 10th minute for Ecuador, but his effort was ruled offside.

Martinez made no mistake five minutes later, however, racing through to drill past goalkeeper Alain Baroja after Venezuela lost possession in midfield.

Ecuador, who fell at the group stage in Brazil last year, struck the knockout blow in the 23rd when a clearance by Baroja, under no pressure, was intercepted by Miller Bolanos.

Bolanos fed Montero and the pair exchanged passes before Montero wrong-footed Baroja with a clever dummy and fired into the net.

Venezuela took control in the second half and created several openings but every time they lost the ball, Ecuador, who have already beaten Argentina away, looked like scoring.

Felipe Caicedo crowned Ecuador’s performance when he met Montero’s cross with a powerful, looping header from just inside the penalty area to score the third on the hour.



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