Ecuador fought back from a goal down to beat Honduras 2-1 and go second in Group E thanks to an Enner Valencia brace.



Ecuador fought back from a goal down to beat Honduras 2-1 and go second in Group E thanks to an Enner Valencia brace.

Both sides lost their opening games, although the South Americans fell to Switzerland with the last kick of the game. Honduras had Wilson Palacios suspended after his red card in the 3-0 defeat to France, so Jorge Claros stepped in, but Victor Bernardez shook off an injury.

Carlo Costly’s cross-shot was palmed away, but Enner Valencia wasted a golden opportunity when sent clear on goal, as he blasted both high and wide with the goal gaping. Bernardez had a free header from a corner, but turned it off target for Honduras.

The deadlock was broken with the first Honduras goal in a World Cup since 1982. The goal kick was not dealt with by Jorge Guagua, so Costly was able to sprint towards goal and fire it past the ‘keeper.

However, the lead didn’t last long and Ecuador got an equaliser almost immediately. A seemingly innocuous Juan Paredes cross was deflected and Enner Valencia was most alert, pouncing to tap in at the back post with Brayan Beckeles caught napping. It means he has scored in each of his last six internationals.

In first half stoppages a missile of a free kick from Bernardez stung the gloves of Alexander Dominguez.

Honduras had the ball in the net, but Jerry Bengtson was offside and bundled it over with his arm after Costly’s header came off the woodwork.

Maynor Figueroa went into a sliding tackle and might’ve clipped Felipe Caicedo’s ankle, or at least done enough for him to lose his footing and not get the shot away in the box. Had Caciedo not tried to continue the move, it would most likely have swayed the referee towards giving a penalty.

Dominguez palmed a stinging deflected Bengtson shot round the base of the near post, but Ecuador went in front when Enner Valencia was left unmarked to nod in a splendid Walter Ayovi free kick from six yards.

Honduras kept pushing, but a Figueroa strike swerved just over. It’s not all over for them, as Honduras can still qualify if they beat Switzerland and Ecuador suffer a heavy defeat to France.

Honduras 1-2 Ecuador

Scorers: Costly 31 (H), E Valencia 34, 65 (E)

Honduras: Valladares; Beckeles, Bernardez, Figueroa, Izaguirre (J C Garcia 46); Claros, Garcia Boniek (Chavez 82), Garrido (Martinez 71), Espinoza; Bengtson, Costly

Ecuador: Dominguez; Paredes, Erazo, Guagua, W Ayovi; A Valencia, Minda (Gruezo 83), Noboa, Montero (Achilier 91); Caicedo (Mendez 82), E Valencia

Ref: Williams (AUS)

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