Two goals by Enner Valencia sealed a 2-1 victory for Ecuador against Honduras at the Arena da Baixada ,Curitiba on Friday in a fast-paced battle between South and Central America at the FIFA World Cup™. The early exchanges were fierce and physical as both sides looked to grab an early lead. The first real chance of the half fell to Valencia in the 19th minute who did not score, but his moment was still to come.
The 25-year old beat the offside trap to face the keeper but his attempt went agonisingly wide. Despite seeing much of the ball, Ecuador conceded first. Carlo Costly punished the South Americans with a venomous left foot strike in the 30th minute, for Honduras’ first World Cup goal since 1982.
However, the advantage was short-lived as barely three minutes later Valencia tapped in from the far post for an equaliser. Both teams were level at the break despite Honduras scoring in stoppage time; the referee correctly called a handball amid Honduran confusion over an offside call. The assistant had not raised his flag but the referee spotted the illegal handling of the ball.
Both teams were rejuvenated in the second stanza as they were looking to get their noses in front. El Tri made calls for a penalty in the 57th minute when Felipe Caicedo went down but again the referee was correct in his decision. Valencia brought Curitiba to its feet again in the 65th minute with a clean header feasting on a great Walter Ayovi free kick to give Reinaldo Rueda’s troops the lead for the first time on the night.
Luis Fernando Suárez’s men tried to claw their way back into the match but it was not to be as they suffered a second successive defeat at the 2014 World Cup finals and remain winless since their first appearance back in 1982.