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 By PA Sport

Bolanos, Valencia score as Ecuador bounce Mexico from Copa America

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EcuadorEcuador
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Ecuador kept their hopes alive in the Copa America after beating Mexico 2-1 in Rancagua on Friday night.

Miller Bolanos and West Ham's Enner Valencia struck either side of half-time for Gustavo Quinteros' side, before Raul Jimenez cut the deficit from the spot.

Mexico are now the first team to be eliminated from the competition, with them bottom of Group A, while Ecuador will be hoping for an unlikely set of results to put them through as one of the best third-placed outfits.

Ecuador dominated proceedings from the off against a lacklustre Mexico side, who had drawn both of their previous two games against hosts Chile and Bolivia.

The Ecuadorians, who lost their opening two games, knew they needed a win to have any chance of progressing and they played like it as they scrapped for everything.

Bolanos had the first meaningful chance in the second minute as he wormed his way into space inside the box before hitting it straight at Mexican goalkeeper Jesus Corona when anywhere else on target would have almost certainly been a goal.

Miller Bolanos scored Ecuador's opener in the 26th minute.

Ecuador otherwise struggled to convert their superiority into opportunities and it looked like that profligacy was going to cost them when Matias Vuoso put himself clean through after 24 minutes.

The Mexican forward picked the pocket of Ecuador defender Juan Carlos Paredes, who was guilty of dithering in possession on the edge of his own area, before woefully pulling his shot wide.

Ecuador's breakthrough finally came two minutes later as Valencia's driven shot across goal was palmed away by Corona, but only as far as Bolanos in space at the far post.

The 25-year-old duly tapped in to give his side a well-deserved lead at the interval, while Mexico failed to register a single shot on target.

Bolanos returned the favour in the 57th minute as he slipped Valencia through past Mexico's napping back line and the Hammers forward showed ice-cool composure to slot home.

With Mexico staring at a guaranteed exit, they managed to cut down Ecuador's lead five minutes later from the spot.

Gabriel Achilier was the guilty party for Ecuador, with his clumsy challenge on Hugo Ayala rightly giving the penalty away, which Atletico Madrid forward Jimenez dispatched easily as Alexander Dominguez went the wrong way.

Mexico finally piled forward with a sense of urgency as they searched for an equaliser, but Ecuador held firm to claim well-deserved victory.

Final group matches in Group B are Saturday, and on Sunday in Group C.

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