Ecuador beat Jamaica 3-1 in Copa America

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Ecuador;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Ecuador</a> players celebrate midfielder <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Kendry Paez;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Kendry Paez</a>'s goal in their 3-1 win over <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Jamaica;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Jamaica</a> in the Copa America (Chris CODUTO)

Ecuador boosted their chances of reaching the knockout rounds of the Copa America on Wednesday after hanging on to beat Jamaica 3-1 in their Group B clash in Las Vegas.

Ecuador, beaten by Venezeula in their opening match of the tournament on Saturday, held off a spirited second-half rally by the Reggae Boyz to claim a vital three points at the Allegiant Stadium.

The South Americans looked to be cruising to victory after taking a 2-0 lead following a Kasey Palmer own goal and a penalty from Chelsea-bound teenager Kendry Paez.

However, Jamaica pulled a goal back from veteran striker Michail Antonio early in the second half, and then had strong claims for a penalty rejected 15 minutes before full-time.

Ecuador, however, made the game safe in stoppage time with a breakaway goal from Alan Minda as Jamaica pressed forward for an equaliser.

The defeat leaves Jamaica bottom of Group B with no points after two games.

The Jamaicans could be eliminated later on Thursday depending on the result of Venezuela's clash with Mexico.

Earlier, Ecuador opened the scoring with a freakish own goal in the 13th minute, Pierre Hincapie's cross from the left taking a wicked deflection off Palmer and looping into the Jamaica net.

Ecuador doubled their lead from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

Defender Greg Leigh instinctively blocked a header with his upper arm and after a lengthy VAR review, Chilean referee Cristian Garay pointed to the spot.

The 17-year-old Paez -- who will join Premier League giants Chelsea in July 2025 when he turns 18 -- stepped up to calmly stroke the spot-kick into the bottom corner.

A rejuvenated Jamaica pulled one back early in the second half with Antonio jabbing home a low shot on 54 minutes after Ecuador failed to clear a corner.

Jamaica thought they had been thrown a lifeline with 15 minutes to go after a VAR penalty check triggered when Ecuador's Alan Franco appeared to handle inside the area.

But despite being called to the monitor to take a look at the incident, referee Garay decided there had been no handball and waved play on, before Minda's late goal sealed Ecuador's win.