Manizales, Colombia, Aug 4 : Substitutes Sergio Canales and Alvaro Vazquez scored second-half goals to help Spain defeat Ecuador 2-0 on Wednesday and advance to the second round of the Under 20 World Cup.
Canales scored from close range after striker Cristian Tello stole a ball on the left side and cleared two defenders before making a low cross to the Real Madrid playmaker near the penalty spot in the 67th. Vazquez sealed victory in a breakaway in the 85th, beating a defender and scoring easily from in front of the goal.
The victory gives Spain six points from two matches in Group C, three more Costa Rica and five more than Australia and Ecuador. Costa Rica beat Australia 3-2 later Wednesday.
Spain struggled in the first 30 minutes but slowly picked up the pace to dominate the match at the Palogrande stadium. It improved even more when Canales replaced Daniel Pacheco in the 56th, giving the Spaniards more offensive power.
"I'm very happy because it's not easy to come back from an injury," said Canales, who had been nursing a left muscle ailment. "We played with a lot of heart in this match and now we are already through to the second round."
Ecuador played a man down from the 65th after midfielder Christian Ona was ejected for a second yellow card.
Spain will close group play against Australia and Ecuador will play Costa Rica.
"We played a great match but we didn't have enough luck to score even though we created many chances," Ecuador coach Sixto Vizuete said. "Without disrespecting Costa Rica, we still haven't lost anything. If we play like we played against Spain, we can think about earning four points and advancing."
One of the top title favorites, Spain had opened with a 4-1 win over Costa Rica. Ecuador opened with a 1-1 draw against Australia.
It was Ecuador which threatened most early in Wednesday's match, while the Spaniards relied mostly on counterattacks.
Ecuador had one of the match's best chances in the 28th when Mario Pineida's dangerous cross from the right wing just missed a couple of strikers in front of the net. Midfielder Fernando Gaibor finished with the ball inside the area, but his shot was blocked.
Spain had a goal disallowed for offside in the 34th, and in the 40th Tello had the team's first significant chance by clearing a defender inside the area and firing a low cross shot that just missed.
Striker Rodri came close for Spain in the 50th, sending a hard shot that prompted a difficult save by Ecuador goalkeeper John Jaramillo at the near post. Jaramillo made another save after Isco's long-range shot just three minutes later.
Ecuador replied with a close-range effort by striker Marlon de Jesus in the 64th, forcing goalkeeper to Fernando Pacheco to make a difficult save.It was Ecuador's last dangerous chance, though, as Spain broke the deadlock soon after. AP