Independiente have been denied the chance to draw level with Primera A leader Deportivo Quito after a 1-1 draw with 10-man Barcelona.
Ariel Nahuelpan clinched a point for Barcelona after the reigning Ecuadorian champions had gone behind to a magnificent chip from Independiente’s Fernando Guerrero in the first half, while in the capital, Deportivo Quito won 2-1 away to El Nacional.
Deportivo Quito’s triumph on Sunday saw them take top spot ahead of Emelec, who lost their fourth straight match when they went down 1-0 to LDU Quito on Saturday.
Walter Calderon and Federico Nieto scored either side of half-time for Deportivo Quito as they held off El Nacional, who scored in the 89th minute through Edson Montano.
Independiente could have joined Deportivo Quito, Emelec and LDU Quito on 35 points at the end of the 19th round but were denied victory by Barcelona.
In a dramatic first half in Sangolqui, Barcelona looked to have taken the lead in the third minute when Jose Luis Perlaza headed home but the referee denied the visitors for a foul on one of the hosts’ defenders.
Barcelona were reduced to 10 players seven minutes later when captain Matias Oyola was shown a straight red card after the referee judged him to have been the last man when he fouled Independiente striker Armando Solis.
The home side looked on track to take advantage of their extra player when Guerrero picked up the ball on the left-hand edge of the penalty area in the 39th minute and launched a chip with the outside of his left boot from into the top corner of the net.
But Barcelona eventually grabbed a share of the points thanks to Nahuelpan’s sharp volley just after the hour mark.
The draw leaves Independiente fourth on the table on 33 points, while Barcelona sit sixth, four points further back.
In other results over the weekend, Manta and Universidad Catolica drew 2-2, while LDU Loja and Deportivo Quevedo were held to scoreless draws at home by Macara and Deportivo Cuenca respectively.