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Brigadier Gral. Estanislao López, Santa Fé, Argentina

Referee: Sergio Pezzotta

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 0


Paraguay 0-0 Ecuador

The cagey opening to the Copa America continued this evening as Paraguay and

Ecuador played out a goalless stalemate in Santa Fe.

After fellow Group B contenders Brazil and Venezuela also drew a blank earlier

in the day, tonight's draw means just three goals have been scored in the

tournament's opening four matches.

Better will surely come as the tournament progresses, and indeed the encounter

at Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao Lopez was not without clear-cut chances

for both sides.

Ecuador's Christian Benitez spurned arguably the best of those in the first

half, although Paraguay were the better side after the break and were unlucky

not to make the breakthrough.

Paraguay carved out the opening chance after 12 minutes as a brilliant piece of

skill by Marcelo Estigarribia took the midfielder into the box. He unselfishly

squared the ball for Edgar Barreto who saw his shot pushed over the bar by

Marcelo Elizaga.

The keeper then had to keep out a Roque Santa Cruz drive and also reacted

sharply to parry away a close-range Nestor Ortigoza shot.

Ecuador had barely threatened but they should have taken the lead after 27

minutes as striker Benitez beat three defenders and the keeper on a wonderful

run, but he was robbed of possession by Paulo de Silva when poised to pull the


Midfielder Segunda Castillo then drilled narrowly wide of the right-hand post

from the edge of the area.

Paraguay had the best of the second half, and on 55 minutes spurned a glorious

chance to go in front when Estigarribia surged down the left channel but dragged

his low shot just wide of the far post.

Eight minutes later Ecuador had Elizaga to thank for a superb save to keep the

scores level, the keeper getting down brilliantly to his left to deflect away a

Santa Cruz header that looked destined to nestle just inside the post.

Paraguay threw on Nelson Valdez after 73 minutes to try and force a goal, and

within two minutes the forward went close with a shot from the edge of the box

which bounced just wide.

Fellow substitute Pablo Zeballos had Paraguay's final chance of the night with

a dipping long-range effort five minutes from time, but the Ecuador goal again

held firm.