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Copa America 2016: Group B Recaps - Peru Survives 1-0, Ecuador Robbed?

Peru sits atop Group B after holding on for a one goal win over Haiti while Ecuador are wondering why they don't have three points after what seemed to be a disallowed goal in the second half of their 0-0 draw with Brazil.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

BRAZIL 0, ECUADOR 0

The two group favorites wasted no time getting into the action, as Miller Bolanos fired wide in just the fourth minute and immediately after in the sixth, Willian sent in a cross on the other end that Phillipe Coutinho redirected forcing Ecuador keeper Esteban Dreer to make a fine save.

While the opening ten minutes were a flurry of action, the rest of the first half settled into a tactical matchup, with Brazil trying to break down Ecuador's defense while La Tricolor hit back on the counter. Ecuador didn't find a lot of success as far as shots on goal, but they did put three Brazilian players on yellow cards (Casemiro, Elias, Gil) in the first half.


Brazil held a 69-31% edge in possession in the first half but only had the early Coutinho effort on goal to show for it. The Brazilians also attempted a staggering 345 passes in the opening forty five minutes, completing 87% of them. However, they only had a relatively  meager 73 attempts in the Ecuadorian third while Ecuador themselves had just 27 passes on the attack, hence the lack of overall chances.

Controversy erupted around the 66th minute as Miller Bolanos sent a cross from the endline towards the goal. The ball traveled down the line, however the referee's assistant had his flag raised to signal the ball was out of bounds. As the ball got to Brazilian keeper Alisson, he attempted to catch the ball but he fumbled the attepmt and slid into his own net with the ball. Center referee Julio Bascunan of Chile waived off any shouts for goal and signaled for a Brazil goal kick. A potential howler for Brazil was waived off, and while the situation was handled well by the on field officiating crew to dispel the controversy, replays were inconclusive about whether the ball traveled fully over the endline before Bolanos' cross. More than likely, the ball was not entirely over the line and play should have continued to allow what would've been the opening and possibly winning goal.

In the 83rd minute, substitute Lucas Moura tried to redirect a glancing header from a beautiful cross on the left wing but put it wide of the post and an onrushing Dreer. Brazil had a good run after the potential goal was disallowed but in the end the game ended scoreless with very few quality chances created after the beginning minutes of the game.

BRAZIL LINEUP 4-1-4-1: Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Gil, Filipe Luis, Casemiro, Elias (Lima 86'), Renato Augusto, Coutinho, Willian (Moura 76'), Jonas (Gabriel 62')

ECUADOR LINEUP 4-2-3-1: Dreer, W Ayovi, Achilier, Mina, Paredes, Gruezo, Noboa, Montero (Martinez 81'), Bolanos (Gaibor 90+'), A. Valencia, E. Valencia (J Ayovi 81')


PERU 1, HAITI 0

In the first Group B match of the evening, Paolo Guerrero became Peru's all-time leading scorer when he netted his 27th international goal on the hour mark to lead the Incas past Haiti in their opener.

Guerrero spoiled a fine defensive effort and another solid outing from Haitian keeper and captain Johhny Placide, who made four saves on the night. Guerrero and Peru thought they had opened the scoring when the veteran Edison Flores at the top of the box, only for Flores shot to strike the far post.

Haiti's best chances came on two downward headed balls following two different corners in the first half but Les Grenadiers couldn't capitalize on the loose balls inside the six yard box. In the 77th minute, Haiti used some nice build up play to force Peruvian keeper Pedro Gallese to claw the ball out of danger as Peru's defense held Haiti to just five total shots and just one on goal.

Substitute Kervens Belfort sent the last chance of the game in stoppage time just wide after Haiti earned a free kick deep into second half stoppage time. The Haitian was devastated on the pitch as the final whistle blew, allowing Peru to escape with a 1-0 win and all three points.

HAITI LINEUP 4-3-3: Placide, Goreux, Genevois, Meckhac, Jaggy Marcelin, Hilaire (Alexandre 40'), Lafrance, Louis, Nazon (Belfort 71'), Guerrier.

PERU LINEUP 4-2-3-1: Cacede, Revoredo, Ramos, Rodriguez, Trauco, Tapia, Vilchez, Cueva, Honberg, Polo, Guerrero

GROUP STANDINGS

1. Peru (3 pts) 2. Brazil (1 pt) 2. Ecuador (1 pt) 4. Haiti (0 pts)

GROUP OVERVIEW

Obviously the team in the best position right now is Peru, who can steal a result from either Brazil or Ecuador and maybe advance with just four points. A win for the Incas would assure them a spot in the next round as well, so no matter what if Brazil and Ecuador take care of business against the underdogs of the group, they'll advance and use tiebreakers to determine the group winner.

I want to go give Kervens Belfort a hug.