SAO PAULO (AP) — Ecuador held a below-strength Brazil to a 1-1 draw on Sunday to secure a spot in the Copa America quarterfinals.
The draw moved Ecuador to fourth spot in Group B, eliminating Venezuela and likely setting up a quarterfinal match against Argentina.
Neymar, Thiago Silva, Fred and Gabriel Jesus missed the game against Ecuador because Brazil had already ensured it would advance atop the group.
The defending champions opened the scoring at the Olimpico stadium in Goiania in the 37th minute with a header by Éder Militão after a corner. Angel Mena equalized for Ecuador in the 53rd when he finished with an angled shot in front of goalkeeper Alisson.
“Now we have to rest, recover well and focus on every final we will have on the next few days,” Brazil midfielder Lucas Paquetá said. “We need our total powers to win this.”
Peru beat Venezuela 1-0 with a goal by André Carillo in the 48th minute. The Venezuelans needed a win to progress to the playoff stage.
Group B ended with Brazil on 10 points, followed by Peru (7), Colombia (4), Ecuador (3) and Venezuela (2). The top four in each group advance. Argentina leads Group A, which will be decided on Monday.
Lionel Messi’s team could only lose top spot if it fails to beat already-eliminated Bolivia and Paraguay wins against Uruguay.
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