QUITO, April 1 (Reuters) - South American group leaders Paraguay scored an injury-time equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw away to Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier on Wednesday.
Substitute Edgar Benitez scored in the second minute of
injury-time after the visitors had been reduced to 10 men.
Ecuador's Cristian Noboa came off the substitutes' bench to
score for the home side the second game running.
Paraguay, who have 24 points from 12 games, remained well
on course for a fourth successive World Cup appearance after a
tough match at the Atahualpa at 2,800 metres above sea level.
Ecuador have 14 points and are still in touch with the
leading pack, although their chances have been greatly reduced
after their second successive home draw.
The first half ended in an ugly melee with riot police on
the point of entering the field.
Ecuador broke the deadlock when Noboa, who scored an 89th
minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Brazil on Sunday, headed
in from a corner in the 64th minute, two minutes after coming
Paraguay were close to an equaliser in the 81st minute when
Benitez hit the post but their chances seemed to have
evaporated when defender Paulo da Silva was harshly sent off
for a foul on Cristian Benitez.
Ecuador's Edison Mendez hit the crossbar from the resulting
free kick but Paraguay rode their luck and Edgar Benitez
grabbed the equaliser after the Ecuador defence failed to clear
Salvador Cabanas' cross.