Hosts Qatar were eliminated after Ecuador fought back after an early setback to secure a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands in their second Group A match at the World Cup.
Cody Gakpo scored the fastest goal of the tournament so far to give the Netherlands the lead in the sixth minute. The winger took advantage of Ecuador’s poor defense just outside the area to score his second Qatar goal.
Ecuador had their first chance to equalize in the 32nd minute when Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert made a great save to fend off Enner Valencia. Pervis Estupinan then found the net, but his effort was ruled out for offside as the South Americans took control of the game.
They didn’t waste much time in the second half and Valencia equalized in the 49th minute after taking a rebound from Estupinan’s shot.
The Dutch defense could only watch when around 10 minutes later Gonzalo Plata’s stunning hit the crossbar meaning they would remain level on points with Ecuador.
Valencia have now scored Ecuador’s last six World Cup goals and are so far the top scorer of the 2022 tournament with three, but left the field on a stretcher in the 89th minute after falling.
The result knocked out Qatar, after being defeated by Senegal in their previous Group A match. Ecuador-Senegal and Netherlands-Qatar next Tuesday will decide which two teams will advance to the round of 16.
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