Chile saw manager Eduardo Berizzo resign after a draw with Paraguay on Thursday, and Ecuador are fighting to get into contention despite starting with a three-point deduction.
An awful result on Thursday saw the end of Berizzo's tenure in charge of Chile, as he took it upon himself to resign after they were held by 10-man Paraguay at home.
Despite having a man advantage for almost half of the match, Chile never truly threatened and looked clueless as they limped to a 0-0 draw, leaving their qualification hopes hanging in the balance.
Chile's talisman Alexis Sanchez apologised to his now-former manager in the aftermath of the game for his and his teammates' performances, but Berizzo is now gone and been replaced by caretaker Nicolas Cordova.
Berizzo's future was already in doubt after a bruising 3-0 defeat to Venezuela last month, and Thursday's draw means they have won just one of their opening five qualifiers - against bottom-placed Peru.
After surprisingly missing out on the last two World Cups, the Chilean FA will be determined not to fail once again, especially given the expanded format.
Chile currently sit eighth, with the top six qualifying automatically and seventh going into an inter-confederation playoff.
It is still early days though, and Chile sit level on points with Ecuador and Paraguay who are both in the top seven, but they are yet to face Brazil or Argentina, who very rarely give up points easily in qualifying.
After being handicapped by starting on minus-three points due to the Byron Castillo debacle from the previous qualifying campaign, Ecuador are still showing fine form in attempts to overcome that early disadvantage.
Despite the penalty, they are in the top six entering this matchday ahead of Paraguay and Chile on goal difference.
That is despite them not being the most pleasing side to watch for the neutral, as 18 of their last 25 matches have witnessed two goals or fewer.
Defensive solidity has unsurprisingly been key to their recent success, as they went into the last World Cup on the back of six straight clean sheets, before also keeping one in the tournament opener versus Qatar.
Felix Sanchez Bas's side kept another two in their last two games, both of which ended 0-0 - against Colombia and Venezuela.
Those results followed two wins across September and October's windows, where Ecuador saw off Bolivia and remain the only side to have beaten Uruguay up to now.
Winger Gonzalo Plata is also absent, along with Jhoanner Chaves, who was a late withdrawal from the squad.
Hernan Galindez was the Ecuador number one during the World Cup, but he appears to have lost his place to the much younger Moises Ramirez, and in his absence this month, fellow veteran Alexander Dominguez has started instead.
Chile will be without Victor Mendez after he was sent off late on as a substitute in the draw with Paraguay.
Sanchez is set to earn his 160th cap for his country, but one-cap Bruno Barticciotto, who scored two on his debut, remains out injured.
Ecuador possible starting lineup:
Dominguez; Preciado, Torres, Pacho, Hincapie; Franco, M Caicedo, Cifuentes; Paez, Rodriguez, Sornoza
Chile possible starting lineup:
Cortes; Diaz, Medel, Maripan, Suazo; Pulgar, Echeverria; Davila, Alexis, Brereton Diaz; D Pizarro
We say: Ecuador 0-0 Chile
Ecuador have been steady if not spectacular so far and will expect to claim another result against a Chile side in disarray.
The visitors will have to regroup quickly after the resignation of their manager just a few days ago, and an away trip to a side notoriously stingy in defence is not the ideal fixture.
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