MX23RW : Tuesday, September 28 07:16:21| >> :600:1758763:1758763:
Nov 12, 2020 at 8pm UK
BoliviaBolivia
2-3
EcuadorEcuador
Carlos Arce (37'), Moreno (60')
Jusino (18'), Montero (78')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Caicedo (46'), Mena (55'), Gruezo (88' pen.)
Caicedo (45'), Gruezo (45+2')

Preview: Bolivia vs. Ecuador - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's World Cup Qualifying clash between Bolivia and Ecuador, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Bolivia will be hoping to avoid a third consecutive defeat in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers when they welcome Ecuador to the Estadio Hernando Siles on Thursday.

The hosts have lost to Brazil and Argentina so far, while Ecuador have also suffered defeat to Argentina but came out on top in their clash with Uruguay.


Match preview

As one of only two teams to have taken zero points from a possible six so far, Bolivia are rock bottom of the CONMEBOL qualification group, but Cesar Farias's men have got two of the most difficult fixtures out of the way early.

Bolivia's opening game was a mismatch on all levels as Brazil hit them for five, and while Farias's men also suffered an expected defeat to Argentina, that match was a much more closely-fought affair.

Veteran forward Marcelo Martins opened the scoring in that game to shock Lionel Messi and co, but Argentina soon turned the tie around as goals from Lautaro Martinez and substitute Joaquin Correa condemned Bolivia to their second defeat in as many matches.

Farias's men have every right to be encouraged by their performance on matchday two, but Bolivia are certainly not expected to occupy a spot in the top five after all 18 matches have been played, with La Verde attempting to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1994.

Bolivia have only managed to pick up two victories in the last three years - beating Haiti and Myanmar in friendlies - with Farias's side winless in competitive matches since beating Chile 1-0 during qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

Boca Juniors coach Gustavo Alfaro pictured in July 2019© Reuters

Ecuador have also had to navigate a daunting start to their qualification journey, but Gustavo Alfaro's side have given a good account of themselves in the opening stages.

It took a penalty from Messi for Argentina to overcome Ecuador on matchday one, and after enjoying a few days of rest and recovery, La Tri came out on top in a six-goal thriller with Uruguay by four goals to two.

Even then, Alfaro's men only conceded from 12 yards as Luis Suarez netted two penalties, but the damage was done early on as Moises Caicedo, Gonzalo Plata and Michael Estrada (2) propelled Ecuador to an impressive victory back in October.

There is still a long way to go before qualification is all done and dusted, but at this moment in time, Ecuador's fifth-placed standing would see them advance to the inter-confederation playoffs - with La Tri determined to make the finals this time around after missing out in 2018.

Ecuador will certainly feel confident of coming up trumps against Bolivia; La Tri have only lost once in their last 16 matches with their midweek hosts in all competitions, with Ecuador winning 3-0 in the last meeting back in September 2019.

Bolivia World Cup Qualifying - South America form: LL
Bolivia form (all competitions): LLLWLL

Ecuador World Cup Qualifying - South America form: LW
Ecuador form (all competitions): WLWLLW


Team News

Bolivia forward Marcelo Martins pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Bolivia could very well line up with the same starting XI from their narrow defeat to Argentina, with Jose Carrasco set to occupy a spot in the heart of defence despite his own goal against Brazil.

Martins has struck 19 times for the national team, and the 33-year-old needs just two more to overtake Joaquin Botero and become Bolivia's all-time leading goalscorer. The Cruzeiro man could be partnered by another veteran up top in 41-year-old Carlos Saucedo.

As for Ecuador, giving away three penalties in their opening two matches is no doubt a cause for concern for Alfaro, but the visitors are yet to concede from open play and should stick with the same back four once again.

Alan Franco started against Argentina but was then dropped for the Uruguay clash, and the 22-year-old may be benched again here with Caicedo unlikely to cede his place in midfield following his goal on matchday two.

With Bolivia's Martins looking to top his country's scoring charts, Ecuador's Enner Valencia is currently level Agustin Delgado on 31 goals for La Tri - one more and the former West Ham United striker will overtake the 45-year-old to become his country's highest scorer of all time.

Bolivia possible starting lineup:
Lampe; Torres, Valverde, Carrasco, Jose Sagredo; Chumacero, Wayar, Castro; Cardozo; Martins, Saucedo

Ecuador possible starting lineup:
Dominguez; Preciado, Arreaga, Arboleda, Estupinan; Mena, Caicedo, Gruezo, Ibarra; Valencia, Estrada


SM words green background

We say: Bolivia 1-3 Ecuador

Ecuador's defence has only been breached from the spot so far, but Bolivia ought to feel optimistic about their chances of breaking through, especially with Martins looking to etch his name into the history books. However, Ecuador have a striker of their own in Valencia out to break his country's goalscoring record, and the visitors should have too much firepower for Farias's men, so we are backing La Tri to come out on top.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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