Brazil held to a goalless draw by Ecuador in Copa America
Pasadena (California), June 5 (IANS) Brazil played out a frustrating goalless draw with Ecuador in Copa America centennial football tournament night in both teams' Group B opener here on Saturday.
Ecuador had an apparent goal disallowed by the referee in the 66th minute. Miler Bolanos' cross was mishandled by Brazil goalkeeper Alisson at the near post and ended up in the back of the net, but it was ruled that the ball had passed the end line before the cross.
Brazil was close to the winner in the 83rd minute, but a header by Lucas went wide of the goal. The final whistle drew boos from the Rose Bowl stadium crowd.
Despite feeling like they could have picked up a win, Ecuador can take some solace in the result, as they had never beaten and forced only a single draw against eight-time champions Brazil in 13 previous Copa America matches.
Willian, who plays for Chelsea in England's Premier League, was a catalyst for Brazil early in the match with his pace and crosses into the box. One had to be cleared over the top of the goal by Ecuador goalkeeper Esteban Dreer in the sixth minute.
After a yellow card to Brazil's Elias, Ecuador's Enner Valencia attempted a free kick in the 36th minute that Alisson saved for Brazil.
With superstar team-mate Neymar in attendance though not playing because he is bound to feature at the Olympics -- Brazil had 65 percent of the possession in the first half and completed 91 percent of its passes, yet the match was scoreless at halftime.
Group B action continues Wednesday when Ecuador faces Peru in Glendale, Arizona, and Brazil meets Haiti in Orlando.