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SANTA CLARA, Calif.: Goals from substitutes Jhonder Cadiz and Eduardo Bello gave Venezuela a 2-1 win over 10-man Ecuador in their Copa America Group B match on Saturday.

In the other group game, Mexico got their campaign off to a winning start with a 1-0 win over Jamaica in Houston, but were without captain Edson Alvarez to injury.

Ecuador were forced to play with 10 men from the 22nd minute of the match at Levi’s Stadium when striker Enner Valencia was sent off for dangerous play.

The 34-year-old striker struck Venezuelan defender Jose Martinez in the chest with his boot during a challenge for a high bouncing ball in the penalty area and was initially shown a yellow card, but after a VAR review he received a red.

Ecuador, who had been in control of the game before being sent off, responded well and went ahead in the 40th minute when Venezuela failed to clear a free kick in the box and Jeremy Sarmiento pounced on a loose ball to head home.

Venezuela head coach Fernando Batista made two changes at the break, bringing on Cadiz and Bello, and both should have had a decisive impact.

Striker “Vinotinto” Salomon Rondon put the ball away for Cádiz, whose shot from the edge of the penalty area was slightly deflected as it flew past Ecuadorian goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez.

Then, in the 74th minute, Alexander Gonzalez crossed from the right, meeting Rondon’s fierce header which was deflected by Dominguez, but Bello reacted to fire home.

“It’s a pleasure to score a goal that helped win and to be involved in the first goal. These three points are very important for what is to come,” said an elated Bello.

Ecuador’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez said Valencia’s red card forced him to change the team’s approach.

“We had to change the plan, wait a little behind the opposition. “Obviously when you play with 10 men you are at the mercy of the opposition for many minutes, even if you don’t want to play like that,” he said.

“Obviously it’s not a dream start, but there are still two games left and we have a team that will compete.” The most important thing is that the team gets the spirit for what is to come.”

Mexico struggled with Jamaica for a long time before Gerard Arteaga’s superb goal in the 69th minute gave them the three points.

Jaime Lozano’s side suffered a major blow when their captain, West Ham midfielder Alvarez, had to go off in the 29th minute after going down without contact.

‘El Tri’ struggled to create chances in the opening half with maximum effort as Luis Romo shot wide just before the break.

Jamaica thought they were ahead in the 50th minute but Michail Antonio’s fierce header was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

This escape roused the Mexicans, who pressed forward with greater purpose. Luis Chavez forced a good save from Jamaican goalkeeper Jahmali Waite and Julian Quinones fired over the bar after taking a touch from the left.

Waite was alert again to keep out Santiago Gimenez’s near-post blast as the pressure mounted and finally Mexico came through when the ball fell to Arteaga on the edge of the box and he curled a perfectly struck half-volley into the far corner.

Jamaica had one last chance to salvage a point, but Dexter Lembikis’ low shot was turned onto the post by Mexico goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez.

Arteaga said the disallowed goal gave Mexico the momentum to go on and win the match.

“A goal, whether for or against, changes your mood a lot. And when we saw that it wasn’t allowed, that also lifted us a little more to continue to insist and look for the goal on our own,” the left back told TUDN.

Mexico faces Venezuela on Wednesday in Los Angeles and Jamaica faces Ecuador on the same day in Las Vegas.

“We know that we are not facing an easy opponent. Thank God we won against Jamaica and now we want to go for another win,” said Arteaga.

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