Enner Valencia (pictured) gifted Ecuador a vital 2-1 win over Honduras in Group E on Friday to boost their hopes of making the last 16. Valencia is now joint top scorer at the World Cup.
France top the group with six points while Ecuador and Switzerland each have three. Honduras have now lost twice and are facing likely elimination.
Honduras did at least have the satisfaction of scoring their first goal at a World Cup finals match since 1982 when striker Carlo Costly drove home after 31 minutes to put them 1-0 up.
Their advantage was short lived because Valencia levelled the score only three minutes later. The striker slid in at the far post after a shot from defender Juan Carlos Paredes was deflected across the face of goal.
Honduras thought they had taken the lead again on the stroke of halftime. Costly headed against the bar and his fellow striker Jerry Bengtson bundled the rebound over the line but his effort was ruled out for handball by Australian referee Benjamin Williams.
Valencia took his place alongside Karim Benzema, Robin Van Persie, Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben as the tournament’s joint top scorer on three goals when he headed home the winner from Walter Ayovi’s free-kick 25 minutes from time.
At the final whistle, there was an almight roar as the crowd voiced their approval after a thrilling match.
France will now face a tough match against Ecuador on Wednesday, as the South Americans clearly showed their tenacity, belief, and fighting spirit in Curitiba.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)
Date created : 2014-06-21