Netherlands vs Ecuador 1-1: Valencia Answers to Gakpo

Netherlands and Ecuador tied 1-1 their second World Cup test on Friday, an outcome that leaves both sides’ qualification chances intact and certifies the elimination of host country Qatar at the same time. 

The Oranje stroke early as Cody Gakpo netted his second goal of the competition with a beautiful strike but offered little more than that. La Tri equalized once again with Enner Valencia, who scored his fifth goal in a row for Ecuador since the 2014 World Cup. But the Fenerbahce man picked up an injury again and this time had to be stretched out of the pitch. 

That’s the only bad piece of news for Gustavo Alfaro, whose side produced much more than their opponents and perhaps would have deserved more than one point. Ecuador are without doubt the most impressive outsider seen so far in Qatar.

Indeed, La Tri showed a solid organization as they kept their cool and quickly bounced back after being hit early on. With six minutes on the clock, Gakpo received the ball from Davy Klaaseen, who took advantage of a Moisés Caicedo blunder, and fired it into the top corner of Hernán Galindez’s goal. From then on, it was radio silence from the Netherlands.

Ecuador’s reaction resulted in Valencia testing Andries Noppert with a tricky shot, but the almost-debutant Dutch goalie continued to live his fairy tale and tipped the ball away to keep his sheet clean for the time being.

La Tri found the back of the net before half time, but Jackson Porozo’s position as Pervis Estupinan drilled the ball home was determined as offside. The 22-year-old did not touch the ball but obstructed Noppert’s vision as the ball slid past him. The South Americans didn’t like the decision one bit and protested vehemently but referee Mustapha Ghorbal did not want to hear it.      

Ecuador had their equalizer four minutes after the restart. The Dutch messed out while building up their play from the back and Caicedo stole the ball at midfield to trigger Estupinan’s incursion. His shot was saved but Valencia was once again in the danger zone, ready to tap the ball in to make it 1-1.

Alfaro’s side continued to push but were denied by the crossbar, which pushed back a Gonzalo Plata shot on 59 minutes. The Netherlands’ only answer was a Teun Koopmeiners shot that ended wide off target. Their coach Louis Van Gaal had tried to shake things up by sending in Memphis Depay for Steven Bergwijn in the second period but the Barcelona man’s performance and attitude were irritating to say the least. 

The match pace slowed down in the last 20 minutes as both sides started to look at the group table and seemed happy with sharing the spoils. The Netherlands knew that their last match against the derelict Qatar would be an easy task, while a tie against Senegal will be enough for La Tri to move through.  



November 25, 2022 – FIFA World Cup Group A

SCORERS: 6′ Gakpo (N), 49′ Valencia (E)

NETHERLANDS (3-4-1-2): Noppert; Timber, Van Dijk, Aké; Dumfries, Koopmeiners (79′ De Roon), F. De Jong, Blind; Klaassen (69′ Berghuis); Gakpo (80′ Weghorst), Bergwijn (46′ Depay) (Pasveer, Bijlow, Frimpong, De Ligt, De Vrij, Malacia, Taylor, Janssen, Simons, L. De Jong, Lan) Coach: Van Gaal
ECUADOR (3-4-2-1): Galindez; Porozo, Torres, Hincapie; A. Preciado, Mendez, Caicedo, Estupinan; Plata (90′ Ibarra), Valencia (90′ Rodriguez); Estrada (74′ Sarmiento) (Ramirez, Dominguez, Arboleda, Cifuentes, Pacho, Arreaga, Palacios, Gruezo, Mena, Franco, Ay. Preciado, Reasco) Coach: Alfaro
REFEREE: Mr. Ghorbal (Algeria)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Mendez (E); Added Time: 1st Half 3′, 2nd Half 6′
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