Ecuador and Brazil play out to scoreless draw in their first Copa America match

In what has been the most promising game in the Copa America Centenario so far, Brazil and Ecuador met in Pasadena, California in the historic Rose Bowl for a Group B match up.

Although Brazil was considered a favorite, both teams were neck and neck as Brazil has a lot of hurt players in their squad and Ecuador looked dangerous with their quickness. Also, the match had the most controversial call of this Copa America as of yet.

Ecuador had the first chance of the game in the fifth minute when Miler Bolaños hit a strike from outside the box that made Alisson make a diving attempt at the ball, but it just missed the mark. However, Brazil countered almost instantly with Philippe Coutinho making Ecuadorian keeper Dreer to react quickly to keep the ball out of his net.

Coutinho kept taking shots from outside the box, some of which came close and some that went way wide of the mark. But throughout the first half some good action from both squads as they went tit-for-tat trying to get the game’s first goal. However, the halftime whistle blew and both teams went scoreless into the break.

It looked as if the second half was going to be more promising, but in fact the tempo died down what with the sweltering California heat bearing down on both teams.

But in the 67th minute, controversy struck. An Ecuador ball was heading out of play, but just at the last moment Enner Valencia managed to poke it back in play towards Alisson’s net. Somehow, the ball took a weird angle towards Alisson and tried to secure the ball into his hands, the ball wriggled out and went in for an own goal.

Just as the Ecuadorians celebrated this piece of serendipity, it was quickly taken away from them as the line judge had already put his flag up to signal that the ball had gone out. But a closer look on the replay shows that the ball did not entirely go out and the Ecuadorians were robbed of a goal.

“As he [Valencia] shot the ball, it bounced off the post as I tried to get it out but it managed to hit off my arm and going in. I had lifted my hand [to signal the ball had gone out] and then I looked back to see that the line judge had his flag up to annul the goal,” said Allison when asked about that bizarre sequence.

The rest of the game went without incident until the 82nd minute when Lucas Moura had the best chance for a late winner. A cross came to Moura on the left side and he headed a ball but it just went wide hitting the side netting, causing half the stadium to erupt in cheers only to realize the ball had not gone in.

As the final whistle blew, fans booed as both teams left the pitch after that scoreless draw.

“I really liked the way we moved the ball around today, the way we switched around the play with ease, but I just feel like we need to work harder and work on our finishing,” Brazilian head coach Dunga said at a press conference after the game.

“Ecuador was very strong and they fight hard, they are really fast on the counterattack, Ecuador defends well and they can open up space in front and we fought well against a physical team,” he went on to say.

“We played well, thank God, and it was a tough result as we believe we could have gotten all three points what with the goal being disallowed, but also we just missing that final touch in front,” said Ecuadorian goalkeeper Esteban Dreer.

Next up for Brazil is a matchup against Haiti as they will look to find their scoring touch in Orlando at the Citrus Bowl, and for Ecuador they will take on group leaders Peru in Glendale, Arizona. Both games will be on June 8.

About Josh Espinal

I am a multimedia journalism graduate from the University of Texas at El Paso. Soccer is more than a passion for me, it's basically life. Follow me on twitter at @joshbruv and see me tweet about soccer in almost every language imaginable.