Brazil in drab draw with Ecuador to end Group B campaign

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Brazil finished their Copa America Group B campaign with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Ecuador on Sunday.

With their place in the knockout stages already secured before the clash at the Estadio Olimpico Pedro Ludovico, Tite opted to make 10 changes.

From the side which beat Colombia three days ago, it was only team captain Marquinhos that kept his place.

Eder Militao put the Selecao ahead shortly before half-time, but Ecuador improved after the break and deservedly sealed a point through Angel Mena.

Brazil will take on the fourth-placed team in Group A in the quarter-finals on Friday, while Ecuador will play the winners of that group a day later.

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The much-changed Brazil starting eleven struggled in the early stages, only testing Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez through Gabriel Barbosa inside the opening 20 minutes.

Lucas Paqueta steered an effort wide from the edge of the penalty box shortly after the midway point of the first half as Brazil started to exert more pressure on their opponents.

Their improvement was rewarded eight minutes before the interval when Militao headed home his first Brazil goal from Everton’s free-kick.

Ecuador drew level in the 53rd minute, though, substitute Mena firing past Alisson from nine metres, after latching onto Enner Valencia’s headed pass.

Substitute Vinicius Junior missed a glorious opportunity to restore Brazil’s lead in the 66th minute, skewing wide at the back post from Paqueta’s cross.

The title-holders rarely looked like finding a winner in the closing stages as Brazil’s run of 10 consecutive wins came to an end with a whimper.

Victories over Peru, Colombia and Venezuela afforded Tite the opportunity to dip into his squad for this final group game and those fringe players did not exactly cover themselves in glory.

It is unlikely many of those players will feature in the last-eight clash, with the likes of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison refreshed and ready to reclaim their spots.

Both sides will know their opponents in the last eight after the final two games in Group A on Monday.(dpa/NAN)

 

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