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Brazil, Ecuador draw 1-1

ECUADOR'S Cristian Noboa scored in the 89th minute to force a 1-1 draw with Brazil in a World Cup qualifier yesterday.

Brazil scored first via Julio Baptista on the only clear opportunity the Brazilians had in the second half. Baptista, who entered as a replacement for Ronaldinho, surprised Ecuador's Jose Francisco Cevallos with a low shot that got past the goalkeeper in the 72nd minute.

Unable to take advantage of its dominant play throughout the game and the taxing altitude of the Andean capital, Ecuador salvaged a point with Noboa's late equalizer. It came on the rebound off a blocked shot by teammate Cristian Benitez.

Five-time World Cup champion Brazil dropped from second in the South American tournament, overtaken by Argentina, which beat Venezuela 4-0 on Saturday. Ecuador is seventh in the 10-team tournament with 13 points. Brazil has 18.

Brazil looked lackluster after arriving in the Andean capital just hours before the game, an attempt to counteract the affects of altitude at 9,000 feet above sea level.

The Brazilians played without Kaka, who injured his foot playing for AC Milan this month. His spot was filled by Ronaldinho, his AC Milan teammate who has lost playing time at his club to David Beckham in recent months.


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