Ecuador hold Brazil in Copa America opener
PASADENA, California (AP):
Neymar showed up at the Rose Bowl for Brazil's Copa America opener against Ecuador, but was unable to influence his teammates from his luxury suite.
Playing without their star attacker, Brazil were held to a scoreless draw with Ecuador on Saturday night in the Copa America opener for both teams at the Rose Bowl.
"We have to get better, but watching the game, we were only missing the score," Brazil coach, Dunga, said. "The way we played, being our first game and playing against a good team, was well."
Neymar skipped the tournament because he didn't have permission from Barcelona to play in both Copa America as well as the Olympics in Rio in August.
Ecuador came the closest to scoring in front of the crowd of 53,158, but an apparent goal was waved off as the ball was ruled to have gone out of bounds before the shot. Ecuador coach Gustavo Quinteros was convinced that the goal should have counted.
On the play, Ecuador's Miller Bolanos chased down a ball near the goal line on the right side of the penalty area. Bolanos crossed the ball to the front of the goal and Brazil's goalkeeper Alisson Becker mishandled the ball and watched it bounce off his hands and into the goal.
However, referee Julio Bascunan ruled that the ball crossed the goal line before Bolanos' shot and awarded Brazil a goal kick.
"I saw it 25 times on video replay," Quinteros said. "The entire ball did not go out. About 75-80 per cent of it went out."
Dunga, meanwhile, said he trusted his players' account.
"I couldn't see anything," Dunga said. "It was tough to view. The players who were close to the play said the ball went out."
With the result, Peru finished the day atop Group B after a 1-0 victory over Haiti in Seattle earlier Saturday.
Paolo Guerrero scored and Peru dodged a chance in stoppage time to hold on for their victory.
Guerrero the leading scorer of the last two Copa America tournaments found the back of the net with a diving header, off the bending feed from Edison Flores, from the top of the six-yard box in the 61st minute.
Guerrero became Peru's career leader with 27 goals, breaking Teofilo Cubillas' record set in the 1978 World Cup.
Haiti, who had just five shots, saw their best chance of the match slip away in the 94th minute. Kervens Belfort made a run at goal, but his header off a perfectly placed free kick by Jeff Louis from about three yards out, went wide. It was the last play before the full-time whistle.
Group B play resumes on Wednesday as Brazil play Haiti in Orlando, while Ecuador will meet Peru in Glendale, Arizona.