FIT TO BE TIED Peru surrenders advantage, Ecuador rallies
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Peru surrendered a two-goal lead in playing Ecuador to a 2-2 tie in a Copa America Centenario match at the University of Phoenix Stadium Wednesday night.
La Blanquirroja (1-0-1, 4 points) is in second place in Group B but likely facing a must-win situation when it meets Brazil in the final group game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday. Ecuador (0-0-2, 2 points) plays Haiti at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Sunday.
Christian Cueva scored the first goal, spinning past Gabriel Achilier after a Paolo Jose Guerrero feed. Edison Flores upped the lead to 2-0, converting with a left-footer from the top of the penalty area, turning after controlling a flicked-on header from Guerrero. The sequence was set up as FC Dallas midfielder Carlos Gruezo was cautioned, setting up a Renzo Reveredo free kick.
Gruezo and Achilier, who received a second yellow card in the 90th minute, will be suspended for the Ecuador-Haiti match.
The Peruvians had chances to stretch the lead, the best a header just wide by Reveredo off a free kick, before losing momentum.
The Ecuadorans began setting the tone physically late in the half, Enner Valencia and Renato Tapia clashing in the 28th-minute, Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan allowing medical treatment with both players down.
And Ecuador’s pressure paid off. After Juan Carlos Paredes crossed from the right wing, an Alberto Rodriguez clearance went directly to Antonio Valencia, who lofted a pass into the penalty area. Enner Valencia, left unmarked near the penalty spot, chested down and volleyed past Pedro Gallese inside the right post in the 39th minute. The goal seemed to ignite Ecuador, which finished the half on the offensive, then continued dictating the pace early in the second half.
The tying goal was set up as Peru struggled to clear, Christian Noboa releasing Jefferson Monteiro on the left side of the penalty area. Monteiro drew out Gallese, then crossed for former Chivas USA striker Miller Bolańos to finish into an open net in the 49th minute.
Ecuador attacked through Monteiro on the left wing, but Peru regained its defensive composure and retaliated. Peru had a goal waived off after Guerrero was whistled for a foul and, in injury time, had a chance to break the tie as substitute Raul Ruidiaz fired barely wide left.