Ecuador battle back to draw 1-1 with the Netherlands

Al Rayyan, Qatar, Nov 25 (EFE).- Enner Valencia resuscitated Ecuador’s dream of advancing at World Cup 2022 by scoring an equalizer against the Netherlands in Friday’s Group A match here.

While the Orange had 55 percent possession, they were outshot 15-2 and won only two corners to Ecuador’s five.

The result leaves the Dutch and the Ecuadorians level on points, 4, and goal difference, 2, as they look forward to their respective final group stage matches against already eliminated Qatar and Senegal, who have 3 points.

Team captain Valencia is responsible for all three of his side’s goals in Qatar and for the last 3 goals they scored at World Cup 2018 in Russia.

So it was no surprise that the Ecuador supporters in the stands at Al Rayyan’s Khalifa International Stadium had their hearts in their mouths as they watched him stretchered off at the end of regulation after he lay on the turf for three minutes clutching his right knee.

At the start of the contest, the South Americans seemed to still have their heads in the clouds after beating the host nation in the opener, but the Dutch brought them back down to earth in the 6th minute.

A mistake in midfield by Moises Caicedo allowed Davy Klaassen to deliver a great cross to Cory Gakpo and the PSV Eindhoven striker put the Orange ahead with his second goal of the tournament.

It took the Ecuadorians a while to shake off the shock of conceding for the first time in seven matches, but as the match clock passed 20 minutes, the Dutch found themselves under pressure at the back.

After missing the target in the 27th minute, Valencia forced a stop from Dutch keeper Andries Noppert in the 32nd.

The Ecuador captain won a corner in first-half stoppage time and Pervis Estupiñan steered the second kick past Noppert, but the goal was disallowed for offside.

Ecuador carried their momentum into the second half and Valencia brought them level in the 49th minute.

Virgil van Dijk blocked a shot by Valencia in the 59th only for the rebound to drop for Ecuador’s Gonzalo Plata, whose blast bounced off the cross-bar.

Angelo Preciado fired over the bar on a chance to win it for Ecuador with nine minutes left in regulation and Noppert was lucky that a too-casual clearance in stoppage time did not result in a goal.

EFE lmpg/dr

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