Published: 09:31, June 23, 2024
Venezuela edge out 10-man Ecuador in Copa America
By Reuters
Nahuel Ferraresi of Venezuela heads the ball against Kendry Paez of Ecuador during the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024 Group B match between Ecuador and Venezuela at Levi's Stadium on June 22, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (PHOTO / AFP)

Venezuela struck twice in the space of 10 minutes in the second half to come from behind and earn a 2-1 victory over Ecuador in the Copa America on Saturday, getting their Group B campaign off to a winning start.

Ecuador played most of the match with 10 men after their captain Enner Valencia was sent off in the 22nd minute for a high boot, but Jeremy Sarmiento smashed home just before halftime to put them in front.

Both of Venezuela's goals came from substitutes.

Jhonder Cadiz leveled the match in the 64th minute before Eduard Bello struck in the 74th to boost Venezuela's chances of reaching the quarter-finals.

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Cadiz pounced on Salomon Rondon's cushioned layoff in the following a quickly taken throw in to level the scores will a composed finish.

Venezuela's Yordan Osorio (left) is defended by Ecuador's Kevin Rodriguez during a Copa America Group B soccer match on June 22, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (PHOTO / AP)

Bello sealed victory for Venezuela 10 minutes later, smashing a rebound high into the net from close range after Rondon drew a save from Ecuador keeper Alexander Dominguez with a diving header.

Valencia was sent off after making contact with Jose Martinez's face.

Ecuador's talisman and top international scorer initially earned a yellow for the challenge but the card was upgraded to a red after the referee was sent to the monitor by the video assistant.

Valencia will be miss Ecuador's next group match against Jamaica on Wednesday as a result of the straight red card.

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Venezuela next face Mexico on Wednesday.