In a stunning defeat before the home crowd in Quito, Ecuador fell 2-1 Tuesday afternoon to Peru in a World Cup qualifying game. The result ended the team’s chances of competing next year in Moscow.
The defeat was especially painful given Ecuador’s impressive start in the qualifier round, at one time sitting atop the South American standings with a 4-0 record. The team began its campaign last year with an impressive 2-0 victory over Argentina in Buenos Aires.
On Tuesday, Ecuador squandered several scoring opportunities in the first half, played mostly in front of the Peruvian goal. In the second session, Peru took charge, putting away the winning goals. Ecuador scored late on a penalty goal.
The game is probably the last for Ecuadorian stars Antonio Valencia, Felipe Caicedo, and Cristhian Noboa, who have helped Ecuador to two World Cups in the last 12 years. It will probably also be the last for coach Gustavo Quinteros, an Argentinian. It is customary in World Cup play to fire the coach if a team does not make the finals.