Ecuador became the eighth team in the 2014 World Cup to come back and win, after an Enner Valencia brace gave them a 2-1 triumph over Honduras. In a match between two teams that needed a win to stay alive, Ecuador was able to take advantage of their chances to claim an important victory.
The opening 15 minutes in Curitiba was like watching 22 kids at a birthday party, minutes after eating the cake. The two teams were racing back and forth, up and down the pitch as Ecuador tried to score, and Honduras spent a bit too much time just kicking people.
In the 19th minute, Ecuador looked sure to take the lead when Antonio Valencia found Enner Valencia breaking behind the Honduras back line. Despite having a free shot on goal, Enner's attempt curled wide of the far post, leaving the striker to wonder what the heck had just gone wrong.
So it was that in the 30th minute, Honduras scored.
The goal came from basically nothing, just a long ball hoofed forward toward Carlo Costly that was misplayed by Jorge Guagua, causing the ball to drop right on the striker's foot. Costly was happy to take advantage of the error, racing forward and unleashing a low shot that eluded Alexander Domínguez to give Honduras a 1-0 lead.
Four minutes later, Enner Valencia got a second chance to get Ecuador on the goal sheet, and he didn't waste the opportunity. Juan Carlos Paredes beat Roger Espinoza off the dribble on the edge of the Honduras box and uncorked a shot that was deflected by Jorge Claros. Somehow the ball managed to roll across the face of goal and right to Valencia, who was the only player from either team to react. The striker got a foot to the ball near the far post, poking it past Noel Valladares to even the match at 1-1.
Honduras appeared to go ahead in first-half stoppage time after Costly's header hit off the post, allowing Jerry Bengston to tap it in from short range. The linesman appeared to call a handball, but it also looked as if Bengston was offside. Either way, the goal was disallowed and the Honduras players were not pleased.
In the 65th minute Enner Valencia put Ecuador in front on a set piece, blasting a short-range header past Valladares. It was nearly the same dead ball play that worked for La Tri against Switzerland, as Walter Ayoví fired a cross into the box to the far post where Enner rose up and over the defense to give Ecuador the lead.
Ecuador moves on for a matchup against France with a chance to advance to the Round of 16, while Honduras is all but eliminated from contention.
Honduras: Valladares, Izaguirre (J.C. García 46'), Figueroa, Bernárdez, Beckeles, Espinoza, Garrido (Martinez 71'), Claros, O.B. Garcia (Chavez 82'), Costly, Bengtson
Goals: Costly (31')
Ecuador: Domínguez, Ayoví, Erazo, Guagua, Paredes, Montero (Achilier 92'), Noboa, Minda (Gruezo 83'), A. Valencia, Caicedo (Mendez 82'), E. Valencia
Goals: E. Valencia (34', 65')