Gakpo and Valencia on target again as impressive Ecuador share spoils with dull Netherlands

The Netherlands held Ecuador to a draw in Group A

Qatar 2022 Gakpo and Valencia on target again as impressive Ecuador share spoils with dull Netherlands

Izuchukwu Akawor 19:19 - 25.11.2022

Ecuador's inspirational 33-year-old captain Valencia is now the top scorer at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

An impressive Ecuador continued their wonderful start to the 2022 FIFA World Cup after another solid performance in Qatar.

Ecuador came from behind to share the spoils with the Netherlands following a 1-1 draw in their second game on Friday evening at the Khalifa International Stadium.

The Oranje took a first-half lead through Cody Gakpo before Ecuador struck back in the second half courtesy of their inspirational captain Enner Valencia.

The first half

A cagey first-half performance saw the Netherlands take a narrow lead into the break following a spirited display from Ecuador.

Gakpo once again delivered at the biggest stage when he expertly put the Oranje 1-0 ahead after just six minutes.

Gakpo has score two of Netherlands' three goals at the 2022 World Cup.

There was little to separate both countries thereafter as they struggled to create any meaningful opportunities to add to the scoreline.

But Ecuador almost snatched an equaliser just before the break when wingback Pervis Estupinan fired into the Netherlands net seconds before the break.

Estupinan celebrates before the VAR intervened.

But the VAR came to rescue the Dutch side after it ruled off the goal for offside to ensure the Netherlands take a narrow lead at halftime.

Second half - Another early goal

Having ended the first half on a positive note, Ecuador started the second how they ended the first - on a positive note.

Just as in the first game when the Netherlands scored early on, there would be an early goal in the second 45 minutes, this time from La Tri.

Enner Valencia scored the decisive equaliser for La Tri.

The reward was immediate for the South Americans as captain fantastic Valencia fired the equaliser four minutes after the restart.

Wingback, Estupinan was involved again, this time his initial effort was saved by the Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert, with Valencia the quickest to react to the loose ball, bouncing on the rebound to draw Ecuador level.

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The goal was the third of the competition for the 33-year-old, who is now the top scorer at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Key moment

Just before the hour mark, Ecuador almost took the lead following a good attacking move from Gonzalo Plata, who rattled the Netherlands' post.

It was a narrow escape for Louis van Gaal and his Oranje, who held on for a share of the spoils.

What the result means

Following the result, both teams are leading Group A with four points apiece, with the Netherlands at the top on technicalities.

Ecuador face Senegal next while the Netherlands battle the host in the final game of the group stages.