11937 Fans went to witness one of South Americans storied and oldest rivalries in the University of Phoenix Stadium, when Ecuador faced Peru in the second match of Group B of Copa America Centenario. A little history of this rivalry between Ecuador and Peru, it stems from territorial disputes between the aforementioned countries.
As in familiar fashion, political tensions tend spill to the Futbol world, and sometimes sets up some great Futbol matches with epic proportions, and this match absolutely had everything that a great Futbol rivalry brings
Ecuador fielded an offensive 4-3-3 which was commanded by a talented offensive trio in the West Ham United forward Enner Valencia, Gremio’s star forward Miller Bolaños and English Premier side Swansea City’s Jefferson Montero. In contrast with the conservative 4-5-1 fielded by Peru who had the lone Flamengo star Paolo Guerrero.
Even with all the fire power, Ecuador was against the ropes, since Peru scored 2 goals by the 13th minute. Ecuador lost their nerves and focus, and their passing suffered. Once Peru scored their second goal, Peru started to bunker with 10 men in their side of the field. That was a recipe for a scrappy game.
Ecuador started to find itself right towards the end of the first half, and started attacking in numbers. That left them exposed to the counter attack and Peru got close to their 3rd goal, but their saving grace came when Enner Valencia put on his super hero cape and scored in the 39th minute of a great pass by Jefferson Montero. The game then suddenly turned into a furious back and forth attack fest. It was a thrilling end to the 1st half.
The 2nd half, was all Ecuador, they held on possession, they had 5 shots on goal, compared to Peru’s 2 shots on goal. Both coaches made all their 3 substitutions in the second half. Ecuador’s DT Gustavo Quintero went for the jugular when he substituted Ecuadorian defender Juan Carlos Paredes for forward Jaime Ayovi in the 46th minute. The substitution immediately paid off since 2 minutes later, Miller Bolaños scored and tied the game 2-2 at the 48th minute. The few on shot goals for Peru, were all counter attacks or set pieces. The match was dynamic and scrappy, worthy of a south american rivalry. Eventually Gabriel Achiller got a second yellow card and got ejected towards the end of the game. The match ended with Ecuador with 53% possession vs Peru’s 47% with a 2-2 scoreline. Obviously the rivalry was still not settled for once and for all
The fans for both teams came, and got a great dose of exciting Futbol, right to their feet. This Copa America Centenario, is starting to deliver the fantastic Futbol that it has delivered for 100 years.