Valencia vanquishes Honduras

Ecuador's Enner Valencia heads home the winning goal (AP)

Ecuador's Enner Valencia heads home the winning goal (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

A brace from Enner Valencia saw Ecuador come from behind to beat Honduras 2-1 in Curitiba and keep their hopes of progressing from Group E alive.

Honduras forward Carlo Costly opened the scoring following a lively opening period but Ecuador soon hit back through Valencia, who notched up his sixth international goal in as many games.

With opportunities being spurned and Honduras also having a goal correctly ruled out, Valencia was on hand to put his Ecuador in charge with a second-half header.

The win moves Ecuador level on three points with Switzerland and they also boast a superior goal difference to the Europeans.

It also means France are not yet confirmed qualifiers for the knockout stages despite their two comfortable victories so far.

Both sides 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 Alexander Dominguez with Costly collecting the loose ball and firing home to 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 Juan 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, d espite 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.

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