Copa America: Venezuela strike back to edge Ecuador

Eduard Bello of Venezuela celebrates after scoring the team's second goal against Ecuador. Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/ Getty Images via AFP

Venezuela struck twice in the space of 10 minutes in the second half to come from behind and earn a 2-1 victory over Ecuador in the Copa America on Saturday, getting their Group B campaign off to a winning start. Ecuador played most of the match with 10 men after their captain Enner Valencia was sent off in the 22nd minute for a high boot, but Jeremy Sarmiento smashed home just before halftime to put them in front. Both of Venezuela's goals came from substitutes.

Jhonder Cadiz leveled the match in the 64th minute before Eduard Bello struck in the 74th to boost Venezuela's chances of reaching the quarter-finals. Cadiz pounced on Salomon Rondon's cushioned layoff in the following a quickly taken throw in to level the scores will a composed finish.

Bello sealed victory for Venezuela 10 minutes later, smashing a rebound high into the net from close range after Rondon drew a save from Ecuador keeper Alexander Dominguez with a diving header.

"We fought until the end, even though we were without an important player very early," Ecuador midfielder Moises Caicedo said. "It hurts to lose... (but) we have to keep going because there are two games to go.
"We have a lot of character to turn this around and we are going to fight until the end."

Valencia was sent off after making contact with Jose Martinez's face.
Ecuador's talisman and top international scorer initially earned a yellow for the challenge but the card was upgraded to a red after the referee was sent to the monitor by the video assistant.

Valencia will be miss Ecuador's next group match against Jamaica on Wednesday as a result of the straight red card. Venezuela next face Mexico on Wednesday.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.