Goiania, Brazil, Jun 27 (EFE).- The Brazilian national soccer team on Sunday battled to a 1-1 draw with Ecuador on the last day of Group B competition, easily winning the group even though its star performer – Neymar – was relegated to the bench to rest up and avoid potential injury with an eye to later phases of the tourney.
The match, played at the Olimpico Pedro Ludovico stadium in Goiania, Brazil, was a somewhat lackluster affair, all things considered, although the home team did its job and emerged from group play unbeaten after winning all its earlier matches.
Ecuador wanted to beat the reigning Copa America champs but, with both teams playing effectively, it was the Brazilians who got on the board first in the 36th minute on a tally by Eder Militao.
But in the second half, Ecuador – coached by Argentina’s Gustavo Alfaro – came out aggresively seeking to even things up, completing that task when Angel Mena found the twine in the 52nd minute, thus putting them in fourth place in the group, with Peru eliminating Venezuela in their simultaneous match.
Brazilian coach Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, known as “Tite,” played with a mixed lineup to give a rest to some of his key players, Neymar in particular watching the action from the stands.
Brazil won Group B with 10 points, followed by Peru with 7, Colombia with 4 and Ecuador with 3, while the Venezuelans now will take a flight home.
The quarterfinal matchups, which will be determined according to the results of Group A competition on Monday, will be played in Rio de Janeiro, Goiania and Brazilia on July 2-3.