Copa America 2011, Paraguay Vs. Ecuador: Another Scoreless Draw In Group B

Two Group B matches, zero goals. After Brazil and Venezuela played to a scoreless draw on Sunday afternoon, Paraguay and Ecuador did the same in the evening. Paraguay may have had the better of possession, but neither they nor Ecuador will claim to have played particularly well. In fact, the only standout player for either team was Marcelo Elizaga, who made a few fine saves to earn Ecuador a draw and put all four teams in Group B level with one point apiece.

It was Paraguay who threatened first with a quick move down the left side. They unlocked the Ecuador defense down the flank before finding Santa Cruz open at the penalty spot, but the Blackburn striker shot too close to Elizaga and he was denied. Not long after the Ecuadorian backline broke down and couldn't clear a cross, leaving Nestor Ortigoza to poke the ball in, but once again Elizaga came flying across to make a tremendous diving save.

For all of Paraguay's harmless passing around the midfield and Ecuador's chasing it was actually Ecuador who had the best chance of the first half. Christian Benitez was stranded all alone on a counter-attack like so many other times in the match, but this time he made a special play. He dribbled through three defenders to get in alone on goal, but when he tried to round the keeper Juston Villar was able to get just the slightest of touches on the ball to knock it away.

The second half went better for Ecuador. They wrested some of the possession away from Paraguay and began to draw some fouls and corner kicks, but they were unable to make anything happen from their set piece opportunities. When they couldn't find a way to get set pieces, too many times Ecuador settled for shots from distance that may have been blistering, but were always unlikely to put a dent on the scoreboard.

Santa Cruz got one more chance to score in the second half when he was poorly marked in the center of the box. The cross came in from the left and Santa Cruz rose to meet it. He nodded it down towards the far post, but once again Elizaga was there to make the crucial save and keep the match scoreless.

Without a goal scored on Sunday there was nothing to separate the four teams of Group B as they all sit on one point. The group returns to action on July 9 with Brazil and Paraguay playing in Cordoba and Ecuador facing Venezuela in Salta.

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