RANCAGUA, Chile (AP) Mexico was eliminated from the Copa America with a 2-1 loss to Ecuador on Friday in the final Group A match in the Copa America.
Miller Bolanos opened the scoring for Ecuador in the 26th minute and teammate Enner Valencia added a second in the 57th. Mexico got one back through Raul Jimenez’s penalty in the 64th.
Mexico, which was playing a B team without stars like Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela, has only two points in three matches. Many of its top players are being rested for next month’s Gold Cup in the United States.
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”You have to accept the failure,” Mexico coach Miguel Herrera said. ”We didn’t understand the magnitude of the event we were playing in. We lacked energy, sticking our nose in there.”
Ecuador has three points in three matches and has a chance to advance to the quarterfinals as one of the two best third-placed teams.
”If we don’t advance, it’s a shame,” Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez said. ”We have the personnel and the hope of carrying on.”
Bolanos gave Ecuador a 1-0 lead, scoring on the counterattack as Valencia’s shot was deflected toward Bolanos who chipped it home from a sharp angle into an open net.
Matias Vuoso had Mexico’s best chance in the first half, shooting just wide of the far post in the 24th after robbing the ball from an Ecuador defender.
Ecuador was in control of the first half and deserved the lead.
Valencia gave Ecuador the cushion it needed in the second half, racing in alone and beating Mexico keeper Jose Corona from short range.
Jimenez’s penalty gave Mexico hope, but El Tri could not push through the equalizer.
Mexico was playing in the Copa America as one of two guest teams, giving the tournament 12 teams. Jamaica is the other guest team in the South American championship.
Final group matches in Group B are Saturday, and on Sunday in Group C.