Puerto La Cruz:A sluggish Brazil limped into the Copa America quarterfinals on Wednesday, beating Ecuador 1-0 on a disputed penalty by Robinho.
After a scoreless first half, and with Ecuador threatening, Giovanni Espinoza was whistled for grabbing Robinho, who fell to the ground in the 56th minute.
Despite the protests of the Ecuadoreans, the Real Madrid striker buried the penalty shot just to the right of goalkeeper Marcelo Elizaga for his fourth goal in the South American championships, making him the tournament's top scorer so far.
Brazil finished second in Group B, setting up a quarterfinal rematch Saturday in Puerto La Cruz against Chile, which it beat 3-0 on a hat trick by Robinho.
Ecuador went home without a win despite having fielded much of the same squad that helped it qualify for the past two World Cups.
Brazil's victory also eliminated winless Colombia and United States, which face each other Thursday in their final Group C match.
The young Brazilian squad, lacking big name stars like Ronaldinho and Kaka, struggled offensively and showed only faint glimpses of its famed "jogo bonito" style of soccer. In three match, the five-time World Cup champions have scored just four goals. Two have come on penalties.
Paraguay's Roque Santa Cruz and Salvador Cabanas have three goals each with a final group match and at least a quarterfinal still to play.
Argentina's Hernan Crespo, also with three goals, is expected to miss the rest of the tournament after injuring his leg scoring a penalty in Argentina's 4-2 triumph over Colombia.