World Cup: Ecuador hit back to beat Honduras 2-1 as Enner Valencia nets twice
Last Updated: 21/06/14 1:06am
Enner Valencia scored twice as Ecuador came from behind to beat Honduras 2-1 in Curitiba and keep World Cup Group E wide open.
Honduras took the lead after 31 minutes when Carlo Costly struck a powerful shot past Alexander Dominguez from the edge of the area to score the country’s first World Cup goal since 1982.
Valencia tapped in an equaliser for Ecuador three minutes later as Juan Carlos Paredes’ long shot ricocheted kindly to him at the back post, and he then headed in from Walter Ayovi’s free-kick after 65 minutes.
Honduras could not force an equaliser as they went down to a second straight defeat, but no team has yet been eliminated or guaranteed progression from a group which concludes on Wednesday.
Both sides had lost their opening games and missed chances to take an early lead before Valencia could only fire wide once he had been freed with a long ball forward.
It was another lump forward that undid Ecuador as they failed to deal with a long kick from Dominguez and Costly collected the loose ball to fire home and open the scoring between the two group outsiders.
It was Honduras' first World Cup goal in 32 years but their joy at leading the game was short-lived as the in-form Valencia reacted quicker than any of the Honduras backline to convert Paredes' deflected shot just three minutes after Ecuador had fallen behind.
Honduras came close to re-establishing their lead before the interval as Victor Bernardez saw a free-kick well saved by Dominguez before Costly hit the bar with a close-range header in first-half stoppage time.
Jerry Bengston bundled home the rebound but saw the goal rightly chalked off for handball, with the New England Revolution striker booked as a result.
The second half did not begin with the same vigour with only a wayward shot from Jorge Claros and a misplaced header from Frickson Erazo the chances of note for either side.
Honduras once again had a goal ruled out for offside just after the hour-mark as Costly strayed beyond the last man before pulling the ball across goal.
Shortly afterwards it was Ecuador who were celebrating a second as Valencia continued his great form, rising above the Honduras defence to head home Walter Ayovi's inch-perfect free-kick.
A long-range strike from Hull City defender Maynor Figueroa was the closest Honduras came to rescuing a point but, despite the defeat, they can still mathematically progress from the group.
That outcome would, however, be reliant on them beating the Swiss next week in Manaus, as well as other results going in their favour.