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Ecuador reach Copa quarters, Mexico out after 0-0 draw

Ecuador ground out a nerve-jangling 0-0 draw with Mexico to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Copa America on Sunday as Venezuela sealed top spot in Group B with a 3-0 win over Jamaica.

,Ecuador, needing only a point against Mexico in Glendale, Arizona to advance on goal difference, withstood a furious late onslaught from ‘El Tri’ to reach the last eight.

Mexico launched wave after wave of attacks in the final quarter, with Johan Vasquez forcing a save from Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez in the 71st minute, six minutes after Santiago Gimenez struck the post with a shot from close range.

There was almost a dramatic twist deep into eight minutes of time added on, when Guatemalan referee Mario Escobar awarded what would have been a winning penalty to Mexico after Ecuador’s Felix Torres appeared to foul Guillermo Martinez in the area.

The Mexican-dominated crowd erupted in delight only for the celebrations to be cut short when VAR instructed Escobar to review the decision.

Replays showed Torres clearly got a touch on the ball in his challenge on Martinez and the penalty was overturned.

Ecuador will now face Group A winners Argentina in the quarter-finals in Houston on Thursday.

Venezuela, meanwhile, will take on Group A runners-up Canada in Arlington on Friday as they chase a place in the semi-finals.

The Venezuelans, who were already assured of a quarter-final place after wins over Ecuador and Mexico, preserved their 100% record against winless Jamaica.

Eduard Bello headed Venezuela into the lead after 49 minutes, nodding home at the far post after a perfectly weighted cross from Jon Aramburu.

Veteran striker Salomon Rondon then doubled the Venezuela lead on 56 minutes, latching on to a through ball from Yangel Herrera and then smuggling a low finish into the net past advancing Jamaica goalkeeper Jahmali Waite.

A decisive victory was sealed in the 85th minute when Eric Ramirez was sent through on goal by Kervin Andrade before coolly finishing past Waite.