Bolivia goalkeeper Romel Quinonez admitted he was at fault for Ecuador’s second goal on Monday but thanked his team-mates for ensuring they held on for victory at the Copa America.
After leading by three goals at half-time, Bolivia prevailed 3-2 in Valparaiso, taking a significant step towards the knockout stages of the 2015 Copa America as they claimed their first win at the continental championships since 1997.
Enner Valencia dragged Ecuador back into the contest just two minutes after the break, while Miller Bolanos shot over Quinonez from 25 yards in the 81st minute to make the Bolivians nervous.
But although Ecuador midfielder Christian Noboa hit the bar soon after and Quinonez was forced into a save by Juan Cazares, Bolivia survived to reach four points from two matches in Group A.
“I don’t have words to express this, just thanks to God and all my colleagues that put soul, life and heart,” Quinonez told the host broadcaster after the game.
“Yes, in the second goal, it really was my mistake but thanks to God, we were enlightened tonight and we can win a very complicated game with a first half where we took the lead and we will try to keep this way.”
Quinonez, who saved a penalty from Valencia on the second attempt in the first half, added that Bolivia are on the verge of reaching the Copa America quarter-finals, something they have not done since they finished second at home 18 years ago.
“[A victory] was our goal after a long time without winning in a Copa America, so many years without progressing to the next phase,” the Bolivar gloveman said.
“I am not saying that we did it but this is a step forward.”
Ecuador captain Walter Ayovi was frustrated by his team’s mistakes, which he claimed were more decisive than any positive play by Bolivia.
“Ecuador were strong in some passages of the game but our errors prevailed over their virtues,” he said.
“They were smart taking advantage of our mistakes and that’s why they won it.”
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