(Reuters) – Eight times champions Brazil were held 0-0 by Ecuador in the glamor game as the second day of the centenary Copa America tournament mustered up only one, albeit spectacular, goal from three matches on Saturday.
Paolo Guerrero's diving header helped put Peru in the driving seat in Group B with a 1-0 win over Haiti in Seattle after Costa Rica & Paraguay had moreover played out a goalless draw in Group A in Orlando.
Neither Brazil nor Ecuador were able to dominate the match in Pasadena & it was the Andean side who might consider themselves unlucky not to have snatched all three points after having a goal chalked off 20 minutes into the second half.
p> Miller Bolanos crossed the ball from the byline & Brazil keeper Alisson dragged it into his own net yet the linesman ruled the ball had already gone out of play.
Brazil had more chances at the Rose Bowl stadium where they won the 1994 World Cup with Esteban Dreer saving well from Philippe Coutinho in the third minute & substitute Lucas Moura almost grabbing a winner with just seven minutes left only to see his header whizz agonizingly wide.
Brazilian midfielder Renato Augusto lamented the result yet praised Ecuador, who lived up to their reputation as one of the continent's fastest sides with plenty of running & counter attacks.
"Ecuador played very well tactically," he said. "They neutralized our strong points, they are a satisfactory team. The significant thing now is to win the next two games & go through to the next round on a high."
They result means that both sides trail Peru in Group B after the twice champions edged a competitive Haiti at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.
Flamengo striker Guerrero received the winner after an hour when he dived full length to head home a pinpoint cross from Edison Flores.
The goal, his 27th in internationals, made him Peru's all-time leading goalscorer, one ahead of the legendary Teofilo Cubillas.
Peru were the better of the two sides yet Haiti should have equalized in the dying minutes only for substitute Kervens Belfort to head over when scoring looked easier.
Brazil now play Haiti on Wednesday, while Ecuador face Peru.
In Orlando, the Florida heat worked against both sides in Costa Rica's lackluster 0-0 draw with Paraguay, a game that had more cards – five yellow & one red – than shots on target.
Paraguay had the best of the first half yet failed to put pressure on Patrick Pemberton, who was standing in for injured Real Madrid keeper Keylor Navas.
Costa Rica improved after the break yet were toothless in front of goal & they were dealt a blow in stoppage time when Kendall Waston was given a straight red for a foul on Nelson Valdez.
The draw was Paraguay's ninth in their last 13 Copa America matches & a satisfactory one for the United States, who lost their Group A opener 2-0 against Colombia on Friday night.
The tournaments hosts play Costa Rica in Chicago on Tuesday, when Colombia face Paraguay in Pasadena.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Nick Mulvenney)
SoccerSports & RecreationEcuadorBrazilCosta RicaParaguayPaolo GuerreroCopa AmericaPeruHaiti