RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda called the red card given to midfielder Antonio Valencia "quite unfortunate," but declined to blame Ivory Coast referee Noumandiez Doue for Ecuador's exit from the World Cup after a 0-0 draw Wednesday against France.
Valencia was given a straight red card in the 50th minute card after digging his studs into the leg of French defender Lucas Digne.
Rueda also said little about an elbow by French defender Mamadou Sakho in the eighth minute that appeared to land in the face of Oswaldo Minda. He was not sent off.
"Some of the decisions made by the referee did not favor us," Rueda said. "It's quite regrettable what happened. I believe this is now in the hands of the committee that assesses the behavior of referees. This was not the ideal behavior in many split decisions. I don't think it's worth going into that now."
Ecuador was well organized in the first half, but after Valencia went off it seemed to get even better, gaining inspiration and producing almost as many chances as France.
"It is very tough to play for almost half the match against such a great team and be a man short," said forward Enner Valencia, no relation to Antonio. "But we almost won."