Ecuador is looking to win its match against Colombia on Friday in World Cup qualifiers by taking advantage of the possible absence of Colombia’s striker Radamel Falcao, who is nursing an injury.

web_823248-01-08c_big_tpThat could give visiting Ecuador a much needed edge, since the game is to be played in Barranquilla, Colombia, in its bid to make it to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil next year.

Falcao suffered an ankle injury and has been unable to train normally, but coach Jose Pekerman has understandably been waiting until the last minute to decide whether to bench his top scorer in the qualifiers, with seven goals.

If Falcao is forced to sit out the game, Jackson Martinez is likely to be Teofilo Gutierrez’s partner on the frontline against Ecuador.

The two sides last faced off 15 months ago, when the late Christian Benitez scored the winning goal to hand his national team a 1-0 victory.

Benitez died suddenly on July 29 from a heart attack after a game with his Qatari club El Jaish.

The game with Colombia will mark the first time the squad has gathered for a World Cup qualifier since Benitez’s death, with Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia among the lineup.

The squad also includes Cristian Noboa, Felipe Caicedo and Renato Ibarra.

Ecuador’s goalkeeper Camilo Vargas said the squad is concentrated on winning.

“They are our rivals at the top of the table. We have four games left and everyone’s objective is the World Cup,” he said.

Ecuador heads into the contest ranked third in the regional CONMEBOL qualification standings, five points ahead of Uruguay in the intercontinental play-off spot.

Colombia, meanwhile, is ranked second in the group after losing one qualifier against Venezuela.

With four games to go, Colombia sits three points behind Argentina, which is at the top of the South American group, with 26 points.

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