Venezuela v Ecuador: La Tri 'united' in fight to end winless run at Copa America

By Sports Desk June 19, 2021

Without a win and out of form, pressure is building on Ecuador but there is a togetherness within the squad at the Copa America.

Ecuador slumped to a 1-0 loss to Colombia in their Copa opener last week, condemning La Tri to a third consecutive defeat.

Gustavo Alfaro's side will have the chance to arrest their slump against Venezuela in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, but Copa history is against them.

Ecuador have not beaten a CONMEBOL opponent at the showpiece South American tournament since 2001, their 4-0 defeat of Venezuela followed by a 14-game winless run in such matches.

The team's only victories in the intervening period have come against CONCACAF pair Mexico and Haiti.

Despite the cause for concern, Sebas Mendez insists Ecuador remain united heading into their second Group B fixture.

"We have a great responsibility, which is to represent the country, people are following us," Mendez said as Ecuador – who have never progressed beyond the quarter-finals and exited in the 2019 group stage – look to kick-start their campaign in Brazil.

"The group is united. We know the goal we want so we are working in every way to be able to do it."  

Ecuador will come up against a Venezuela team buoyed by their gritty performance in Thursday's goalless draw with Colombia.

While Venezuela only have one point from their opening two matches, the minnows have shown great resilience in the absence of Tomas Rincon and Romulo Otero due to COVID-19.

Venezuela, despite their coronavirus issues, will be chasing a long-overdue win over Ecuador, having not tasted victory against them since the 2011 Copa America.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Venezuela – Wuilker Farinez

Farinez almost single-handedly kept Colombia at bay to earn a point for Venezuela last time out. There was no way past the 23-year-old Lens goalkeeper, who made eight saves to keep a clean sheet. It was double the number of saves he made in the three games he played with Lens during the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season. His eight saves are the joint-most by a goalkeeper that kept a clean sheet at the Copa America since 2007, following Paraguay's Gatito Fernandez in 2019.

Ecuador – Pervis Estupinan

A Europa League winner with Villarreal in 2020-21, the 23-year-old left-back has made a strong start to the Copa America. While Ecuador missed out on three points against Colombia, Estupinan was a handful, particularly in attack. He forced a strong save from David Ospina, finishing the clash with a team-high two key passes and one of Ecuador's two shots on target.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This meeting is one of the less common matches in the history of the tournament – it will be only the fourth match between Venezuela and Ecuador at the Copa America.
- The record currently favours Ecuador, who have won twice and lost just once, with the other game drawn. However, Venezuela won the last Copa America meeting between the teams, triumphing 1-0 in 2011.
- Venezuela will seek to score a goal in the Copa America after failing to achieve it in the last three matches in the competition.
- Ecuador are undefeated for six consecutive games against Venezuela in all competitions.
- Ecuador is the second-highest team in terms of possession in the current Copa America. Their average so far is 58.59 per cent, only behind Paraguay, who average 77.85 per cent.

Related items

  • Simeone confirms Suarez will play against Valencia Simeone confirms Suarez will play against Valencia

    Diego Simeone has confirmed that Luis Suarez will play for Atletico Madrid against Valencia on Saturday, despite a lack of form and apparent recent falling out between the pair.

    The Uruguay international is Los Rojiblancos' top scorer in all competitions this season with nine goals, but has only found the net once in his last 11 club matches.

    Suarez made his frustration known when he was substituted during last month's 2-1 defeat at Sevilla, appearing to direct expletives towards his manager.

    The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a Premier League reunion with former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, but Simeone insisted at a news conference ahead of the weekend's clash at the Wanda Metropolitano that he has spoken to Suarez and intends to play him.

    Atletico have been on a poor run of late, winning just one of their last six LaLiga games and being eliminated from both the Supercopa de Espana and Copa del Rey in their last two outings.

    "Luis Suarez will play," the Argentine coach confirmed. "I have no doubt that these moments make us stronger, because we have been in difficult moments and very good ones during my ten years at the club [as a coach].

    "This moment is something we've never experienced before and it is like life itself, we need to defend ourselves continuously. What you did yesterday doesn't count, it counts what you do today and I love it like this because this is what happens in life itself.

    "I've already talked to Luis and with the club. With all the people I've needed to, we've talked already. They know what I think, and I'm [currently] thinking about the match against Valencia.”

     

    Suarez has scored 30 goals across all competitions since his arrival at Atletico from Barcelona in September 2020. Karim Benzema (54) and Gerard Moreno (41) are the only players currently based in Spain to have scored more often during that time.

    Additionally, only Lionel Messi (231) has more than Suarez's 175 LaLiga goals since the Uruguayan joined Barcelona from Liverpool in July 2014.

  • Barcelona 'warrior' Fati facing new injury lay-off agony Barcelona 'warrior' Fati facing new injury lay-off agony

    Barcelona are set to lose Ansu Fati for another long stretch of games after details of his latest injury setback were revealed.

    The 19-year-old Spain international has had a dismal run of luck with injuries and appeared to be in tears as he was substituted in the Copa del Rey defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.

    Fati had come off the bench just after the hour mark but had to be replaced early in extra time, with Barcelona stating after the game he had sustained "a femoral biceps injury in his left thigh".

    The wording of that diagnosis was adjusted on Friday evening, and it remains to be seen whether Fati plays again this season.

    Barcelona said in a statement: "Tests carried out on the first-team player Ansu Fati on Friday confirmed that he has a proximal tendon injury in the hamstring of his left leg. In the coming days the treatment to be carried out will be decided."

    On Instagram, the club added: "You’ll be back stronger, warrior."

    Barcelona-based newspaper Mundo Deportivo reported the club has recommended that Fati undergoes surgery.

    The teenager has featured in just 10 games across all competitions this season, and he had only recently returned from a two-month hamstring injury lay-off.

    Fati previously spent 10 months on the sidelines due to a serious knee injury, resuming his Barcelona career in September this season.

    Despite his limited action, Fati is Barcelona's second-highest scorer in 2021-22 with five goals. They have come in just 456 minutes of on-pitch action, with Fati out-performing his expected goals (xG) score of 1.92.

  • Garvey Maceo hammer Manning's 5-0 to win daCosta Cup Garvey Maceo hammer Manning's 5-0 to win daCosta Cup

    Garvey Maceo High School produced a five-star performance to win their first daCosta Cup title since 2007 with a comprehensive 5-0 win over Manning’s at STETHS today.

    Garvey Maceo captain Gregory Cousins continued his stellar form this season with a hat-trick.

    He gave his team the lead in the 14th minute with a composed right-footed finish after a wonderful display of skill to beat two Manning’s defenders.

    Cousins got his second of the game to put Garvey Maceo 2-0 ahead in the 35th minute and completed his hat-trick with a 74th-minute free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box.

    Cleo Clark got the other two Garvey Maceo goals on the day in the 45th and 85th minutes.

    Garvey Maceo now have three schoolboy football titles in their history including two daCosta Cup titles and one Ben Francis Cup title.

    They will now play either Kingston College or Jamaica College in the Olivier Shield.

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.