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Nigeria meet Benin in WAFU Cup semi final

Football
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By ESPN Staff

Ecuador's problems mount ahead of qualifiers

QUITO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Goalkeeper Marcelo Elizaga became Ecuador's latest injury worry on Tuesday when he suffered a cut on his head during a training match.

The Ecuadorean federation's website said that Elizaga needed stitches in a cut above his eyebrow after a clash with striker Joffre Guerron.

The statement said that Argentine-born Elizaga still had a chance of playing in Ecuador's World Cup qualifier at home to Venezuela on Saturday and added that Daniel Viteri of Deportivo Quito had been called up in case.

On Monday, striker Ivan Kaviedes and midfielder Luis Caicedo were both forced to pull out because of muscle problems. They were replaced by Jorge Ladines and Alex Bolanos respectively.

With public confidence in the team at a low following their first round exit at the Copa America, captain Ivan Hurtado appealed to the supporters to get behind the players.

'The national team is a family and with the support of the media, the directors and the whole country, I believe it is possible to keep dreaming with a place at the World Cup,' he said.

Hurtado has won 143 caps and will be taking part in his fifth qualifying campaign.

Ecuador, who had never played at the World Cup before 2002, have qualified for the last two finals. After playing Venezuela, they face Brazil in Rio de Janeiro four days later.