Newcastle United star Miguel Almiron was on target for Paraguay in the 3-1 home win over Ecuador. Hosts Paraguay and Ecuador met in Quito for their penultimate South American qualifier ahead of this year’s FIFA World Cup tournament on Qatari soil.
Paraguay were already out of the race to qualify for Qatar 2022 by the time they took on Ecuador at home, but that didn’t stop them from racing into a two-goal lead at the end of the first 45 minutes. Robert Morales scored the first goal for the Paraguayans on ten minutes before Bayer Leverkusen defender Piero Hincapie put through his own net to double the lead for the home team in the sixth minute of added time in the first half. Newcastle United player Almiron added a third goal for Paraguay nine minutes into the second half to wrap up the points for his team. CSKA Sofia striker Jordy Caicedo pulled one back for Ecuador via a spot kick five minutes from time, but the goal was just a consolation for the away team who were able to book their place in Qatar despite the defeat.
Ecuador needed to match the result from the game between hosts Uruguay and Peru to secure their place at the World Cup 2022 tournament and they did just that. They would have not qualified for Qatar 2022 with the defeat to Paraguay if the game between Uruguay and Peru ended in a draw. Also, a win or a draw would have taken Ecuador through to the World Cup in Qatar irrespective of the result from the game between Peru and home team Uruguay.
Ahead of the Paraguay game, Ecuador were in third spot on the South American qualifying table for the World Cup 2022 tournament with 25 points, while Uruguay and Peru were in fourth and fifth spot with 22 points and 21 points respectively. Despite the 3-1 defeat to Paraguay, Ecuador stayed in third spot on 25 points, while Uruguay joined them on 25 points in fourth spot after their controversial 1-0 home win over Peru. Both Ecuador and Uruguay are through to Qatar 2022.