Ecuador outclasses Jamaica in Copa Group B play

Ecuador's midfielder #10 Kendry Paez
Ecuador's midfielder #10 Kendry Paez and Jamaica's midfielder #14 Kasey Palmer vie for the ball during the Conmebol 2024 Copa America tournament group B football match between Ecuador and Jamaica at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 26, 2024. 

Ecuador took advantage of gifted goals for a much-needed 3-1 victory over Jamaica in Group B of Copa America in Las Vegas on Wednesday. A wild own goal by Jamaican midfielder Kasey Palmer in the 13th minute preceded a penalty kick from 17-year-old Kendry Paez in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time to double the lead. 

Jamaica cut the deficit to 2-1 on a historic goal by Michail Antonio in the 54th minute. He scored with a volley off a loose ball for Jamaica’s first-ever goal in Copa America in its eighth match. With Jamaica pressing for the tying goal, Alan Minda scored on a two-on-one in the first minute of second-half stoppage time to ensure the victory.

Ecuador (1-1-0, 3 points) is alive to reach the knockout stage after rebounding from a 2-1 loss to Venezuela. The top two teams from each group qualify for the quarterfinals. 

Jamaica (0-2-0, 0 points) was eliminated from contention later Wednesday night when Venezuela (2-0-0, 6 points) earned a 1-0 win over Mexico (1-0-1, 3 points). In the final group matches Sunday, Jamaica plays Venezuela in Austin, Texas, while Mexico faces Ecuador in Glendale, Ariz.

Jamaica was denied a chance for the equalizer in the 76th minute following a controversial no-penalty call on a review of a potential handball on Ecuadoran midfielder Alan Franco. 

The match’s first goal came as Ecuadoran defender Piero Hincapie tried to send a cross from the left corner when an onrushing Palmer got the bottom of his foot on the ball, sending it toward the net with a heavy backspin that left goalkeeper Jahmali Waite flat-footed as it sailed past him into the right netting. Jamaica nearly escaped the first half down one Lbut by Greg Leigh was called for a handball after video review and Paez scored from the spot.

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