July 21, 2024

Ecuador won the Copa America against Jamaica 3-1.

After holding on to defeat Jamaica 3-1 in their Group B match in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Ecuador increased their chances of moving on to the Copa America knockout stages.

After losing to Venezeula in their opening game of the competition on Saturday, Ecuador managed to hold off a fierce comeback by the Reggae Boyz in the second half and secure a crucial three points at Allegiant Stadium.

After a penalty kick by Chelsea-bound teenager Kendry Paez and an own goal by Kasey Palmer, the South Americans appeared to be coasting to victory.

But early in the second half, veteran striker Michail Antonio gave Jamaica a goal back. And fifteen minutes before the end of regulation, strong penalty claims were turned down.

But as Jamaica pushed for an equalizer, Alan Minda’s breakaway goal in stoppage time secured Ecuador’s victory.

After two games, the loss puts Jamaica at the bottom of Group B with no points.

Depending on how Venezuela and Mexico play later on Thursday, the Jamaicans might be eliminated.

Previously, in the 13th minute, Pierre Hincapie’s left-wing cross deflected wickedly off Palmer and looped into the Jamaica goal, giving Ecuador the lead.

At the end of the half, Ecuador doubled their lead from the penalty spot.

Defender Greg Leigh reflexively used his upper arm to block a header, and following a protracted VAR review, Chilean referee Cristian Garay signaled the foul.

The 17-year-old Paez stepped up to coolly stroke the spot-kick into the bottom corner. Paez will turn 18 in July 2025 and join Premier League powerhouse Chelsea.

After Ecuador failed to clear a corner, Antonio blasted home a low shot on minute 54 to give a revitalized Jamaica the lead early in the second half.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Jamaica believed they had been handed a lifeline when Ecuador’s Alan Franco appeared to handle inside the area, resulting in a VAR penalty check.

Referee Garay, however, declared there had been no handball and allowed play to continue despite being called to the monitor to examine the incident. Minda’s late goal sealed Ecuador’s victory.

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