Mexico march into last eight

By Xinhua

Maturin (Venezuela) : Mexico have become the first team to reach the quarterfinals of the Copa America with a 2-1 victory over Ecuador in Group B.

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Sunday's result puts Mexico on top of the group with six points. Rivals Brazil and Chile have three points each.

Brazil beat Chile 3-0 earlier Sunday. Ecuador, still without a point, is out of the running for the other quarterfinal berth from the group.

At the Monumental Stadium, some 512 km east of capital Caracas, Brazil's Robinho converted a controversial penalty amid furious Chile protests in the 36th minute. He added two more in the last 10 minutes as Chile ran out of steam.

Despite the result, Brazil looked far from convincing for most of the game and was spared by poor Chilean finishing in the second half.

In the 12-team competition the top two teams from each of the three groups go through to the quarterfinals along with the best two of the third-placed teams.

Nery Castillo and Omar Bravo put Mexico 2-0 up before Edison Mendez pulled one back for Ecuador five minutes from the end.

Mexico went ahead in the 22nd minute when Rafeal Marquez slipped a pass and Castillo slotted the ball home.

Ecuador, who had managed just one win in their previous 14 meetings with Mexico, pushed forward in search of an equaliser but was let down.

Two Mexican substitutes combined to produce the goal that put the game beyond Ecuador in the 80th minute when Cuauhtemoc Blanco floated over a cross from the right wing and Bravo bulleted home a diving header.

Ecuador looked demoralised and without hope but they gave themselves a glimmer of a chance with a deflected strike from more than 20 metres out by Mendez.