Venezuela & Ecuador Draw 1-1 in South Florida Friendly

Two years removed from their previous clash in South Florida, Venezuela and Ecuador took the pitch behind the support of thousands of their patriots. South Florida has long been the destination for Latin American migration, and it showed proudly with the amount of Venezuelan and Ecuadorian fans at Hard Rock Stadium. Over 12,000 showed for a friendly that was missing some notable superstars for both nations.

First Half

The match begun with the Venezuelan supporters backing their selection proudly. Venezuela controlled the opening moments of the match trying to get forward with every opportunity. Ecuador would hold their own defensively and keep Venezuela shooting from outside of the box with little being troubling to Alexander Dominguez. During play in the first half, there were multiple chants against Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro and his government from the exiled contingent. The chants would turn to cries of celebration in the 38th minute, when Yangel Herrera was taken down near the penalty spot by Ecuador’s Gabriel Achilier. The referee would point to the whistle and Roberto Rosales would beat the Ecuadorian keeper with pace giving El Vinotinto the lead.

Ecuador would try to push forward for the remaining moments of the first half but be unable to find a way through Venezuela’s backline. Notably, Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) would slot in the midfield and not in the right-back role that he has played for the majority of his career for the English superclub. At halftime, Venezuela would make two changes while Ecuador remained unchanged seeking to find an answer and level the match.

Second Half

Ecuador would absolutely control the next twenty minutes with Venezuela willing to sustain pressure and play all eleven men behind the ball. In the 53rd minute, Jefferson Intriago would take a lash for Ecuador but his shot sailed high and wide of the goal. After a barrage of changes to both sides, possession would begin to equalize with Venezuela darting forward trying to put this match to bed. In the 85th minute, Venezuela would concede a freekick from a dangerous area and Renato Ibarra would be saved by Rafael Romo.

The chances for Ecuador would continue in the dying moments of the match. After a few spells of built up possession, Ayrton Preciado would play an excellent through-ball on the left hand side finding a streaking Enner Valencia. The Liga MX (Tigres) striker would blast the ball low and out of reach of Rafael Romo equalizing the match. Venezuela would push in the late stages of stoppage time earning three corners but gaining nothing from each of them as the final whistle drew the game to a 1-1 draw.

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