Fidel Martinez bagged a first-half double as Ecuador dismantled Panama 4-0 in a comprehensive international friendly win.
Martinez scored twice in the space of nine minutes before the break, after Miller Bolanos opened the scoring, while Jefferson Montero got in on the action in the second half at Estadio Reales Tamarindos in Portoviejo.
Gustavo Quinteros and Co. will now turn their attention to next week’s Copa America curtain-raiser, which sees the Ecuadorians face hosts Chile on June 11 in the Group A clash.
Ecuador and Panama played out a 1-1 draw three days earlier but the former stepped it up a gear in a rampant display on home soil as the South Americans won for the first time in three outings.
The hosts were positive from the outset and came close to breaking the deadlock on two occasions early in the match, while Panama also had an opportunity to take the lead via Blas Perez.
Ecuador, though, finally went ahead in the 27th minute courtesy of Bolanos, who was on hand to bundle the ball over the line after Montero’s mishit fell to his feet.
Bolanos’ second international goal opened the floodgates as Martinez netted a quick-fire double before half-time.
Martinez doubled Ecuador’s lead in the 32nd minute after poking the ball home following a four-versus-one situation in the penalty area, while the forward was at it again after a swift counter-attacking move nine minutes later.
Walter Ayovi – winning his 100th cap for Ecuador – outran his opponent and the 35-year-old delivered a cross to Martinez, who glanced a header past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
Ecuador continued where they left off eight minutes into the second half, Montero’s performance rewarded with a goal, the Swansea City man scooping the ball over Penedo.
Enner Valencia came close to netting a fifth for Ecuador with 20 minutes remaining, but Penedo was up to the task as the CONCACAF Gold Cup participants lost for the first time in three matches.
Ecuador ended the match with 10 men after substitute Arturo Mina saw red for a second bookable offence with two minutes left on the clock.
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