Ecuador vs Peru isn’t exactly a game that would jump off the page at you when going through the fixtures for the week.
The two South American nations wouldn’t necessarily be your first choice if you were to sit down for some World Cup qualifying action.
And, in reality, the majority of their clash this week would’ve proven you right, with Ecuador looking on course to scrape through to a narrow 1-0 victory.
That was, until, an injury in the second half saw four minutes of chaos both on and off the field.
Midway through the second stanza, Ayrton Preciado suffered a fractured tibia and had to be stretchered off the field of play, which, in most cases, wouldn’t be terribly unusual.
However, when his replacement Diego Palacios stripped down to prepare to come on, he realised that his playing shirt had completely vanished.
In the truly bizarre footage, Palacios can be seen standing gormlessly, and shirtless, near the bench while various members of staff scurry hither and thither in all directions.
One of the kit-men was dispatched to the dressing room to find it but, all the while, Ecuador were forced to play on with just ten men on the field.
Peru made their numerical supremacy count, taking full advantage of the shirt gaff to force an equaliser.
Eventually, Palacios’ AWOL garment was located and he was able to join the clash but the damage had been done.
¡Lo cogieron sin camiseta!— Deybi León (@dleondeportes) February 2, 2022
Ecuador 🇪🇨 estuvo 4 mins con 10 jugadores por la lesión de Ayrton Preciado y en ese tiempo le empató Perú 🇵🇪.
La camiseta de Diego Palacios (el reemplazante) desapareció y al utilero le tocó ir al camerino a buscar otra. 🤦pic.twitter.com/p8cM2iZmET
For Ecuador, the incident represents a massive missed opportunity as a win would have seen them punch their tickets to the World Cup at the end of this year.
Ecuador’s coach was understandably frustrated by the bizarre series of events, saying post match:
“There was a detail, because when Ayrton was injured, I wanted to put on Palacios, the shirt disappeared and that’s why we couldn’t make the change,” he said post-match.
“And at that moment when they bring the shirt, the referee had already set the ball in motion and we were missing a player, and that’s where the play came from.”
You can be sure that Palacios will be checking for his shirt every two minutes for the rest of his career now – what a disaster.