WORLD CUP: Ecuador hit back to hold Netherlands and knock out Qatar

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Ecuador hit back to hold Netherlands to a 1-1 draw in the second game of their Group A campaign at the 2022 World Cup, and in the process knock out hosts Qatar.

The result means neither side has yet qualified for the last 16, although it does eliminate Qatar – who had lost 3-1 to Senegal earlier in the day.

Cody Gakpo’s second goal of the tournament put Netherlands ahead early on, but Ecuador hit back at the start of the second half through Enner Valencia. The former West Ham striker notched his third of the tournament, but there were concerns for him late on as he was forced off on a stretcher with a knee injury.

It leaves the Netherlands needing a point against Qatar in their final group game on Tuesday, while Ecuador will also progress if they avoid defeat against Senegal.

Dutch start fast but Ecuador fire back

Gakpo broke through for the Netherlands with six minutes to go in their opener against Senegal, but against Ecuador – a team that were on a run of seven clean sheets in a row – it took him until just the sixth minute.

The PSV Eindhoven forward picked up Davy Klaasen’s pass on the edge of the box before taking two touches to tee himself up and then slamming one inside Hernan Galindez’s near post.

Ecuador thought they had the lead just before the break as Estupinan flicked home Angelo Preciado’s shot from the edge of the box, but Jackson Porozo was deemed to be interfering with goalkeeper Andries Noppert’s view as it went in, and the goal was ruled out for offside.

But Ecuador were not to be denied the equaliser after 49 minutes, as Noppert could only palm Estupinan’s shot into the path of Valencia, who had the freedom of the six-yard box to prod into an empty net. Again there was a VAR check for offside, but the striker was comfortably on.

The South Americans almost completed a turnaround on 59 minutes as the ball fell to Gonzalo Plata in the box and he thundered one off the crossbar before it bounced clear. Noppert was well beaten.

An excellent second half ended with real concern for Ecuador, however. As Valencia was forced off injured on a stretcher. (BBC Sport)

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