Even without the suspended Lionel Messi, Argentina proved too much for an inexperienced Ecuador side in Spain as Lionel Scaloni’s side romped to a 6-1 victory.
A mixed display that resulted in a draw with Germany last Wednesday saw a number of expected changes to the starting eleven and it was a number of those players who impressed during an excellent second half performance in Dortmund that further enhanced their reputations against Ecuador.
Marcos Acuña and Lucas Ocampos down the Argentina left dominated in the opening 45 minutes with Sporting CP’s Acuña having a hand in three first half goals.
The former Racing Club midfielder, slotting in at left-back in place of Nicolás Tagliafico, whipped in the corner from which Lucas Alario headed Argentina in front and it was another Acuña cross that deflected into the net off right-back Jhon Jairo Espinoza that doubled the advantage.
As the main beneficiary to Acuña’s wonderful delivery, Alario pushed himself to the front of the queue of forwards looking for a place in Scaloni’s squad in the absence of Sergio Agüero, but it was a cross from the left toward strike partner Lautaro Martínez that created the third. The 22-year-old was clattered by Darío Aimar in his attempt to get on the end of Acuña’s low cross and after referee Barbeno Luca pointed to the spot it was eventually left to Leandro Paredes to score.
Ecuador reduced the deficit straight after the break when substitute Ángel Mena’s free-kick looped over Agustín Marchesín but any hope of a come back was short-lived.
A Paulo Dybala set-piece found captain Germán Pezzella unmarked at the back post to head in a fourth and Nicolás Domínguez drilled in a fifth from the edge of the box.
There was still time for Ocampos to rifle in his second goal in as many games from an acute angle and with that Argentina wrapped up a 6-1 win.
Not having scored six since a friendly win over Singapore in 2017 and now five games unbeaten, Argentina are beginning to grow in confidence once more.