ASUNCION, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Paraguay powered their way to a 5-1 win over hapless Ecuador on Saturday, leaving their opponents pointless after three games of the South American World Cup qualifiers.
Ecuador coach Luis Fernando Suarez, who led his side to the
last 16 at last year's World Cup, quit immediately after the
Nelson Haedo Valdez and Cristian Riveros scored from
corners in the first half hour and Roque Santa Cruz added a
superb third shortly after halftime for the hosts.
Substitute Ivan Kaviedes pulled one back, the first goal
scored by Ecuador and conceded by Paraguay in the group, only
for Nestor Ayala and Riveros to add two more late in the game.
Paraguay, who are attempting to reach their fourth
successive finals, have seven points while Ecuador were left
bottom of the 10-team South American group with 11 goals
against after conceding five for the second match running.
The visitors, beaten 5-0 by Brazil last month, sorely
missed defenders Ulises de la Cruz and Ivan Hurtado, who have
more than 200 caps between them but were dropped after
criticising the atmosphere in the squad.
'There are times when, in spite of all the effort, one
cannot find what one is looking for and, thinking in the
well-being of the Ecuador team, I have taken the irreversible
decision to resign,' said Suarez.
'My decision has been taken exclusively for the good of the
Ecuador team, which will surely have a better campaign without
me,' added the Colombian.
The hosts went straight onto the attack as Claudio Morel
Rodriguez, Haedo and Santa Cruz all went close and their opener
duly arrived in the ninth minute when Haedo outjumped the
Ecuador defence to head in Morel's corner.
The second also came from a Morel corner in the 27th minute
as Santa Cruz headed the ball on at the near post and Riveros
half-volleyed into the roof of the net from close range.
Santa Cruz was close nine minutes later before getting onto
the scoresheet in style in the 51st minute.
Enrique Vera won possession on the halfway line and slipped
a superb pass to the Blackburn Rovers player, who collected the
ball in his stride and scored with a powerful shot.
Ecuador's misery was far from over, even when Kaviedes
pulled one back in the 80th minute.
Ayala restored Paraguay's three-goal advantage three
minutes later and Riveros fired in the fifth with two minutes