Adolfo Gaich shines as Argentina defeat Ecuador in Pan-American games opener (VIDEO)

Fernando Batista doesn’t have the squad he would have liked in Lima but Adolfo Gaich, one of the stars of the Under-20s, was once again the key player as ten-man Argentina defeated Ecuador in their Pan-American games opener.

As South American champions back in February, this generation of Ecuadorians have proved to be a tough side to beat and so when Argentina had Nicolás González sent off for a dangerously high boot on goalkeeper José Gabriel Cevallos after only 26 minutes, La Albiceleste looked up against it.

However, despite being down to ten men Argentina led. The powerful Adolfo Gaich running at the Ecuador defence from halfway eventually pulled the ball back for Barracas Central midfielder Carlos Valenzuela to slot in.

And it got better for Argentina as Gaich went from provider to goalscorer with a low finish past Cevallos.

Leading two-nil at the break but a man-down, Argentina naturally had to weather some uncomfortable moments and when Facundo Cambeses failed to stop Jordan Rezabala’s free-kick after fifteen minutes from time, a nervy finish looked likely.

Yet as soon as Ecuador were level, Gaich stabbed in his second and Argentina’s third to restore the lead.

Anderson Naula pulled one back for Ecuador a minute from time but Argentina held on for the win and are already well placed to qualify for the semi-finals. Batista’s side play México on Thursday before closing out the group with a game against Panama on Sunday.

Argentina: Facundo Cambeses; Marcelo Herrera, Leonel Mosevich, Joaquín Novillo, Facundo Medina; Fausto Vera, Santiago Colombatto, Carlos Valenzuela; Agustín Urzi, Adolfo Gaich, Nicolás González

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