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    Colombia 1-0 Ecuador: Cardona stunner gives La Tricolor revenge in Copa opener

    Colombia exacted revenge after opening their 2021 Copa America campaign with a 1-0 win over Ecuador on Sunday.

    Ecuador had remarkably routed Colombia 6-1 in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in November but there was no repeat of that result in Cuiaba.

    In a move straight from the training pitch, Edwin Cardona capped a stunning set-piece move with a 42nd-minute volley – awarded after initially being ruled offside – to give Colombia the perfect start in Group B after defending champions and hosts Brazil eased past Venezuela in the curtain-raiser.

    It was an uninspiring first half at Arena Pantanal, where both teams struggled to create anything in the final third of the pitch.

    Ecuador did not record a shot on target in the opening half, though David Ospina was forced to get down low to the feet of Enner Valencia to thwart the former West Ham and Everton forward in the sixth minute.

    Just as the half was petering out, Reinaldo Rueda’s Colombia struck prior to the interval, thanks to help from VAR.

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    Some lovely one-touch passing following a set-piece released Cardona, who volleyed into the net, but the flag was quicky raised for offside.

    However, the decision was overturned and Colombia were awarded the goal after a VAR review – Miguel Borja was found to be in an onside position when he headed the ball down to Cardona.

    Colombia goalkeeper Ospina made his first real significant save of the match eight minutes into the second half, turning the ball away for a corner as Ecuador finally recorded a shot on target.

    Ecuador continued to push numbers forward, but they never really troubled Colombia or Ospina.

     

    What does it mean? Colombia continue Copa dominance

    Colombia have now beaten Ecuador in their past eight meetings at the Copa America, keeping clean sheets in six of them and restricting Ecuador to only two goals across those matches. La Tricolor are also unbeaten in normal time in their past six games at the Copa, keeping clean sheets in each of them (W5 D1).

    Borja in career first

    After teeing up Cardona brilliantly, Borja has now been involved in Colombia goals in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, having also scored the equaliser against Argentina in World Cup qualifying.

    Ecuador’s wait goes on

    Ecuador have not beaten a CONMEBOL opponent at the tournament since 2001, their 4-0 defeat of Venezuela followed by a 13-game winless run in such matches. Ecuador’s only wins in the intervening period have been against CONCACAF pair Mexico and Haiti. Ecuador are also in the midst of a three-match losing streak in all competitions.

    What’s next?

    Colombia will face Venezuela in Goiania on Thursday, while Ecuador’s next fixture is also against La Vinotinto but in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

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