Quito (AFP) – South American champions Chile suffered another jolt to their 2018 World Cup qualification hopes on Wednesday, crashing to a 3-0 defeat against Ecuador to remain outside the qualification places.
Chile, the region’s dominant side over the past two years with back-to-back Copa America wins, were torn apart as Ecuador produced a rampant display at the Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa.
Goals from Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia, Ferencvaros’s Cristian Ramirez and Espanyol’s Felipe Caicedo secured the points for the hosts.
Chile have never won a competitive fixture in Quito, which is some 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) above sea level. That long record of failure never looked like coming to an end as Ecuador poured forward from the kick off with relentless pressure.
The opening goal came after 19 minutes, when Enner Valencia picked out Antonio Valencia on the edge of the area.
The Manchester United player made no mistake with an emphatic finish that thundered into the bottom corner past Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
Four minutes later and Ecuador were 2-0 up. Bravo, who has endured an uncertain start to his career at Manchester City was caught out of position at the near post and as Chile’s defence scrambled to cover Cristian Ramirez crashed in a low finish to send the stadium into raptures.
Chile lurched to half-time without conceding another goal but were soon in trouble in the second half.
Enner Valencia missed a golden chance to make it 3-0 but moments later Felipe Caicedo turned in Antonio Valencia’s shot to ensure there was no way back for the Chileans.
The win leaves Ecuador second in the overall standings with 16 points from nine games, trailing leaders Uruguay on goal difference.
Chile remain two points outside the qualification places with 11 points from eight games but that gap could likely increase with other games taking place later Thursday.