While the scoreline may suggest a boring match was being played out at Rose Bowl between Brazil and Ecuador (for those who haven’t watched the game) on Saturday, the reality had been far from different.
It was an excellent performance by both teams who eventually cancelled each other out and find themselves deadlocked in the second spot in Group B. With heat and humidity taking a toll on players, both the South American teams put in impressive performances and fought till the end to find that crucial goal that just didn’t come for either team.
Here are five major observations from the match:
The opening of the match was highly entertaining with both teams showing the willingness to get forward. Enner Valencia lashed a fierce shot that went just wide of the post, while Coutinho’s effort was brilliantly saved by Esteban from close range. Brazil enjoyed around 70% of ball possession and had more shots on goal at half-time, but Ecuador looked threatening on the counter.
In the second half, Dunga’s side focussed more on dominating the possession and slowing the game down, as the Selecao struggled to match the speed of Ecuador’s counter attacks.
As a result, Brazil had to sacrifice their natural style of play. Jonas operating as a lone striker was increasingly getting isolated and he was not getting enough support from behind, although Coutinho and Renato Augusto did well with link-up plays.
Brazil responded by bringing Gabriel “Gabigoal” Barbosa and Lucas Moura; the later came close to scoring with a whipping header that buzzed inches past the post.
Brazil missing Neymar
Jonas did well as a lone forward but as the game progressed Brazil cried out for a more technically gifted striker up front – put it simply, they were missing their skipper Neymar, who was somewhat busy taking selfies with pop star Justin Biebar on the stands.
His replacement Coutinho did a fairly decent job with Brazil’s best chances constantly came through him. Coutinho was given a big chance to impress at Copa following a brilliant 2015/16 season with Liverpool, and his form is key to Brazil’s success in this competition.
Ecuador are exciting to watch
Gustavo Quinteros’ side came into this tournament with the reputation of being a boring and defensive side, but they showed plenty of appetites going forward today. They pressed high up the pitch and looked to win the ball in important areas. They showcased an aggressive brand of counter-attacking football and their lightning quick speed and sharp body language makes them an enjoyable side to watch.
A questionable call for Ecuador’s disallowed goal
Miller Bolanos thought he had given his side a crucial lead after firing a shot from a tight angle that Alisson spilt into his own net. Fortunately for him, the referee waved the goal off, as the ball went out prior to it going into the net for Ecuador. Check the video below:
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 5, 2016
Group B can get really interesting
The draw leaves both team to sit behind Peru, who won 1-0 against Haiti earlier in the day, in second spot in Group B. Expecting both the teams to win against Haiti, the results against Peru will determine which teams will qualify for the next round.
Brazil starting XI: Alisson – 5; Dani Alves – 5, Gil – 5, Marquinhos – 5, Filipe Luis – 6; Casemiro -6; Willian – 6, Elias – 5, Renato Augusto – 5, Philippe Coutinho -6, Jonas -5
Brazil subs: Lucas Moura 75′, Lucas Lima 86′, Gabriel Barbosa 61′
Ecuador starting XI: Esteban Greer -6 ; Juan Carlos Paredes – 6, Arturo Mina -5, Gabriel Achilier -5, Walter Ayovi – 5; Christian Noboa -5, Carlos Gruezo -5; Antonio Valencia – 6, Miller Bolaños – 5, Jefferson Montero – 5; Enner Valencia – 6
Ecuador subs: Fernando Gaibor 90’+1, Fidel Martinez 81′, Jaime Ayovi 81′
Referee: Julio Bascuñán
Results from other Day 2 Copa 2016 matches