We are back in Group B of the Copa America on Wednesday evening when the penultimate set of matches are played out. The double header begins in Goiania when Ecuador take on Peru in a crucial match for both sides.
Ecuador have one point on the board from their two matches while Peru have a couple more from the same amount of games. That means the Red Stripe are in a better position to progress of the two but an Ecuador win here would throw everything wide open again.
I’ve been disappointed with Ecuador in their two matches so far and they have landed themselves under huge pressure to pick up a win in this match given that they are not likely to get too much joy out of Brazil in their final group game at the weekend. The last minute equaliser they conceded to Venezuela has put a real dent in their chances of going deep in this competition and now the Ecuadorians need to pull off something of an upset to balance the books so to speak.
Ecuador offered more going forward against Venezuela, but a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal would come back to haunt them. Their biggest issue though was the sloppy defending which cost them two goals and two points. They are going to need to defend much better to get anything out of this game but at the same time they can’t take anything away from what they offer in forward areas as they might well need to win this one.
I think given the quality that Brazil have at their disposal we can allow Peru their loss to them and focus more on their second match in the group which saw them see off Colombia. There was a lot of talk going into the tournament that Peru might struggle given that they have left some senior attackers at home but that script clearly didn’t get through to those that are in Brazil for the event, because they put in a very promising display.
The win on the board will as good as put Peru through, particularly as they have faced the two toughest opponents in the group on paper. If they can finish off with a couple of wins and secure second spot in the final table then they would be in a very good position moving forward as they would face the third best side in the other group in the quarter final. They need to keep that attacking quality and just brush up a little defensively for that to happen.
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The big problem for Ecuador in this match is they are going to be without their talisman Enner Valencia after he picked up a couple of bookings in the first two matches. Gonzala Plata was a surprise exclusion against Venezuela but he could come straight back in here.
It would appear that Peru are going to take the approach of trying to win this match and secure a good position in the group and then look at resting players for the final match against Venezuela. They are expected to be unchanged here.
As we were meandering along in this group I was eyeing up the potential of backing goals in this match but the suspension of Enner Valencia puts paid to that and actually tips the balance much more in the favour of Peru here. These two met in World Cup qualifying at the beginning of the month and Peru won that 2-1. I understand some senior attackers are missing for the Red Stripe but that is the case with Ecuador here too given Valencia is suspended.
The Ecuador defending had to be seen to be believed for the two Venezuela goals in the previous match and if they are as sloppy as that again here then I fully expect Peru to take full advantage of that. I suspect Peru are going to get stronger from here on in with the confidence of having won a match and that makes them quite dangerous for me here. I’m surprised they are the outsiders given the Valencia absence so in a game that might be high scoring I fancy Peru to be the winners if there is a winner.
Back Peru to beat Ecuador (DNB) for a 3/10 stake at 2.25 with Sky Bet