Copa America: Ecuador draws with Brazil, qualifies for Copa America last eight

Ecuador held a second string Brazil side to a 1-1 draw to seal its berth in the Copa America quarterfinal.

Angel Mena

Ecuador's Angel Mena celebrates scoring the equaliser during his side's 1-1 draw with Brazil in the Copa America on Monday.   -  REUTERS

Brazil failed to win for the first time in 11 games but still qualified top in Group B for the quarterfinals of the Copa America after drawing 1-1 with Ecuador in Goiania on Sunday.

The draw at an empty stadium in central Brazil marked the first time that Brazil has not picked up a win since it lost 1-0 to Argentina in a friendly in November, 2019.

The host nation had already qualified in first place in Group B and rested a number of regulars, with Gabriel Barbosa, Everton, Douglas Luiz, Fabinho and Douglas Luis among those getting a chance from the start.

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Lucas Paqueta was a bright presence in a team that missed Neymar's creativity going forward but most of the replacements failed to impress even though Brazil went in 1-0 up at half time thanks to an accomplished header from defender Eder Militao.

Brazil had won its first three group games but was surprisingly pegged back for the first 15 minutes of the second period and substitute Angel Mena equalised for Ecuador with a thumping drive after 53 minutes.

It was not until Casemiro replaced Douglas Luiz after just an hour that Brazil regained its poise.

Nevertheless, neither side made many clear-cut chances and as a draw suited both teams the game petered out slightly.

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With Peru defeating Venezuela 1-0 in the other Group B game, Peru joined Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador in the quarterfinals as Venezuela exited. The Venezuelans were hard hit in the early stages of the tournament when at least eight players tested positive for COVID-19 and had to self-isolate.

The quarter-final matchups will be decided on Monday after the final round of Group A fixtures. Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay have already guaranteed their place in the last eight. Bolivia is already out, having lost all three of its games so far.

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