Friday, October 9, 2015

Ecuador Shock Argentina – World Cup Qualification

Ecuador have pulled off the unthinkable against Argentina last night by beating the World Cup and Copa América finalists 2-0 on their own ground in the El Monumental.


When the others celebrate: Ecuador have beaten Argentina away from home.

The first chance of the game came only about 40 seconds in when di María had a shot from the right saved by goalkeeper Domínguez. But it was Ecuador who took command ever since, had a penalty shout from Caicedo turned down by the referee – rightly so. When the ball nearly reached Montero in the middle after a 2 on 1 counter in the 10th minute, Argentina could and maybe should have been down already.

Romero continued to make a few more vital clearances throughout the opening stages of the match, keeping his team in it. He retains the number 1 status for his country, despite not playing in Manchester. Finally, Messi-less Argentina found some offense around the 20 minute mark. Romero’s counterpart Domínguez came up with a fantastic save on the wide open Agüero. Pastore could not reach the rebound.

Agüero left the game injured after 24 minutes, replaced by Carlos Tévez.

Ecuador striker Miller Bolaños blasted one over the crossbar just shortly after an error from leftback Emanuel Mas. If a team had chances in this first half, it was predominantly the guests, who exposed Argentina’s back 4 that seemed to lack the final bit of concentration over and over.

Seconds before halftime, the Ecuadorians nearly scored an own goal while defending a corner. The ball flew just wide, being behind after 45 minutes would not have been deserved anyway for the brave visitors.

Argentina’s fans were wondering if their team could find a much needed improvement in the second half. The early answer was no. Defensively, the hosts continued to make unbelievable mistakes through the likes of Mas and Biglia, handing the ball right over to Ecuador. Noboa lobbed one of those attempts just wide. A shot from distance by di María and a weak deflection from Mascherano should remain the only chances of the second half for Gerardo Martino’s squad.


80 minutes in, Ecuador finally collected their well earned reward for a strong performance. A corner was extended to the far post and defender Frickson Erazo made no mistake and headed the ball into the back of the net (see picture above).

While Argentina still wondered what had happened to them, Ecuador struck again with a beautifully executed counter, finished by Felipe Caicedo.

It remained 0-2 until the end. A fantastic away performance by Ecuador, who open the World Cup Qualification campaign with a surprising victory against a weak Argentinian side.


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