Three games played and three victories for Argentina under-23s as Fernando Batista’s side look to swiftly book a place in the final round of the pre-Olympic tournament and hopefully secure a place in Tokyo.
There is still plenty of football to be played between now and that possibility but Alexis Mac Allister returned from suspension on Monday evening and proved too much for Ecuador, scoring the only goal in a game that should have produced more goals.
Making up for lost time following his suspension against Chile it took only 11 minutes for Mac Allister to score his second of the tournament. Exchanging passes with Adolfo Gaich, the Brighton midfielder slotted the ball past Wellington Ramírez to break the deadlock and serve another reminder why the Premier League club are exploring the option of ending Mac Allister’s Boca Juniors loan this month.
Argentina should have been further ahead during the opening 45 minutes with Mac Allister volleying over the crossbar from only yards out and Gaich forcing Ramírez into action.
Having not taken those chances Ecuador came into the game after the break and only a goal-line Nehuén Pérez header denied Jhon Sánchez an equaliser.
Gaich struck the woodwork for the second time in the game late with Argentina failing to kill off the game and Ecuador unable to claim an equaliser. The result leaving Argentina virtually secured of a place in the final group stage.
The Albiceleste may be confirmed of a place already if Venezuela don’t beat Colombia later this evening and in the event that the Vinotinto are victorious, they will need to defeat Argentina too on Thursday while Chile defeat Colombia.