Ecuador and Peru play out to thrilling 2-2 draw in Copa America

In front of a sparse 12,000 fans in attendance in the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the most exciting game of the Copa America so far as Peru and Ecuador played out to a 2-2 draw.

Much like the other game in this same stadium a couple of days ago, the game was off to a quick start with what could be the goal of the tournament so far. Christian Cueva maneuvered his way inside the box through a Paolo Guerrero pass and managed a wonderful no look self-pass, nutmegging Gabriel Archiller in the process, and finishing off with a nice touch for the 1-0 lead.


Peru were not done as Edison Flores scored a very lucky goal, catching the Ecuadorian keeper Alexander Dominguez a bit off his line as he did a half turn, and put one on net that slowly dribbled in. For the first 25 minutes, Peru looked invincible as Ecuador could not deal with Peru’s suffocating offense as Peru led 2-0 at that point.

However, Ecuador showed signs of life as the Valencia connection led to a late Ecuadorian goal. Antonio Valencia found Enner in the box, as Enner managed to stay onside, and he buried one from just inside the six-yard box to cut Ecuador’s deficit in half. This really was  a turning point in the game as Ecuador came out in the second half with more energy and didn’t take long for them to score the equalizer.

Just four minutes into the second half, some great teamwork between Ecuador’s Walter Ayovi, Jefferson Montero and Miler Bolaños concluded with some beautiful passing and a wide open net goal for Bolaños for the equalizer. It was anyone’s game at that point.

For the rest of the game, both teams battled back and forth, as they tried to get the goal to push them into the win column. Peru and Ecuador both had their chances on goal, but surely Peru’s last stab at a goal to put them through was their best chance — and it ended with Raul Ruidiaz just shanking a shot left after a quick counter. In that sequence, Archiller earned his second yellow of the game and was sent off for an awkward lunge on a Peruvian player, and will miss the final group game for Ecuador. As the final whistle blew, both teams ended up sharing points settling for a 2-2 draw.

“We made a lot of errors in the back, and we corrected them [midgame]. We can only hope to work harder and fix those mistakes for the upcoming game,” said Ecuador defenseman Walter Ayovi. “We are still alive, along with three other squads, and we have the possibility to still advance. We didn’t win, but we didn’t lose so the possibility still exists for us to advance.”

When asked about his goal being compared to Bergkamp’s when he played in Arsenal, Christian Cuevas responded with a slight chuckle, “All I can say is that is was a Cuevas goal. With all the respect in the world to Bergkamp, it was simply a Christian Cuevas goal, that’s it.”

Cuevas also talked about the Peruvian chances to advance into the next round, “The game got away from us sure, but there is still a real chance to qualify, it’s all up to us. We let a 2-0 lead slip away, we couldn’t make the score work for us, but it gives a chance to learn.”

At the end of the game, Peruvian manager, Ricardo Gareca, was seen visibly arguing with some of the Peruvian fans that sat right behind their bench. Gareca refused to comment about the ordeal. When asked about the situation, Peruvian defender Alberto Rodriguez said, “They are fans, and they are entitled to their opinions and we try to just worry about what he have to do and that’s it.”

Group B concludes on June 12, with Brazil taking on Peru in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and Ecuador facing off an already eliminated Haiti in East Rutherford, New Jersey to decide who will be the two teams that will move on into the quarterfinals.

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.