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Ecuador top Argentina in South American U-20, close in on final stage berth

Argentina's Julian Alvarez (left) vies for the ball with Ecuador's Marlon Medranda during a round-robin match at the 2019 South American U-20 tournament in Chile. The contest was played on Jan. 22, 2019, at Estadio Fiscal in Talca, Chile. EPA-EFE/Esteban Garay

Argentina’s Julian Alvarez (left) vies for the ball with Ecuador’s Marlon Medranda during a round-robin match at the 2019 South American U-20 tournament in Chile. The contest was played on Jan. 22, 2019, at Estadio Fiscal in Talca, Chile. EPA-EFE/Esteban Garay

EFE

Ecuador defeated Argentina 1-0 in Group B action in the 2019 South American U-20 tournament in Chile, taking a big step toward a berth in the competition’s six-team final stage.

Alexander Alvarado scored what proved to be the winning goal in the 54th minute of this round-robin contest Tuesday evening at Estadio Fiscal in Talca, while Argentina had more possession of the ball but repeatedly failed to convert scoring chances due in large part to the play of Ecuadorian goalkeeper Moises Ramirez.

Ramirez made a sensational save in the 28th minute to deny an on-target shot by Santiago Sosa and stymied Argentina’s attack shortly after halftime when he took the ball away from the feet of Maxi Romero.

Shortly afterward, Alvarado finally opened the scoring when he took advantage of a small crack in Argentina’s defense and found the back of the net on a right-footed blast from outside the area.

With time winding down in the second half, Ramirez made his presence felt on two more occasions.

He stopped a shot at point-blank range by Facundo Colidio in the 86th minute and then snuffed out a chance by Adolfo Gaich in second-half stoppage time.

Ecuador (2-0-1) leads Group B with six points, while Argentina (0-1-1) is last with only one point with two of their four round-robin games completed.

Argentina will face a must-win situation when they take on Uruguay on Thursday in Curico.

Three teams from each of the two groups will reach the tournament’s final stage.


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