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Ecuador maintained their strong qualifying campaign in South America with a 3-1 win over Chile Friday.
Ecuador defeated Chile 3-1 Friday in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying in Quito. Although the hosts went down in the 24th minute because of an own goal by Juan Carlos Paredes, the hosts roared back to get the win.
Paredes' own goal came off a cross by Mauricio Isla. Although it appeared Paredes was trying to clear the ball, he instead slammed it past his own keeper for the opener. But Felipe Caicedo, who has been a key player for Ecuador in these qualifiers, got two goals of his own to give Ecuador the lead. The first came in the 32nd minute, when he received the ball on a jailbreak and was able to just beat the Chilean keeper Miguel Pinto to slot it home.
Caicedo got his second in the 55th minute in a bizarre incident. Ecuador were awarded a penalty, and Caicedo stepped up to take it. But he and the referee argued for nearly two minutes as to the placement of the ball on the penalty spot. When the striker finally took the PK, it was saved by Pinto, but the block produced a rebound, and Caicedo finished that chance.
Pachuca's Segundo Castillo scored the third goal for Ecuador, in the 90th minute. Meantime, Pablo Contreras was sent off for Chile in the 53rd minute, and Arturo Vidal was sent off in the 85th minute, so it was little wonder that Ecuador rolled with a two-man advantage.
Although he was on the roster, Chivas USA midfielder Oswaldo Minda did not feature in this match. Perhaps he will see some time Tuesday in Ecuador's next qualifier away to Venezuela. At the moment, Ecuador is sitting in great position in third place in CONMEBOL, with a four point lead over fourth place Uruguay. If they can get another win Tuesday, that should provide more space between the top and bottom of the continental table. We'll keep you posted on the details.
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