All Argentina had to to was avoid defeat by four goals to lift the under-17 South American Championship and thankfully despite a second half flurry of goals from Ecuador, Pablo Aimar’s side held on to be crowned champions.
Victory over Paraguay had all but confirmed Argentina as champions and after a goalless first half against Ecuador on Sunday, the title edged closer.
Even more so when San Lorenzo’s talented number ten Matías Palacios ran clear to clip Argentina ahead on the night but with the foot off the gas and celebrations starting early, Ecuador came back.
A Johan Mina penalty given for handball against Tomas Lecanda drew Ecuador level and some poor goalkeeping by Federico Losas allowed John Mercado to roll in a simple second. A third, a minute later, after a poor Losas clearance cannoned off Mina and into the net was a concern and when a superb Adrián Mejía volley made it 4-1, Argentina were in danger of allowing the title to slip.
Thankfully the rot stopped there and the full time whistle brought celebrations all round – Ecuador had sneaked a World Cup spot at the expense of hosts Peru on goal difference while Argentina were champions.
It wasn’t the best way to close the tournament but after a fourth Sudamericano title Pablo Aimar’s side will head to the Under-17 World Cup in Brazil later this year aiming to lift that trophy for the first time.