CURITIBA – Gp E: Honduras 1, Ecuador 2
—- Enner Valencia scored both goals as Ecuador left Honduras on the verge of World Cup exit.
Carlo Costly latched onto a long ball and lashed in a low 20-yard shot to put Honduras ahead on 31 minutes but Ecuador quickly equalised when a deflected cross fell for Valencia. Later he nodded in at the far post for the winner.
Honduras have yet to win in eight World Cup matches and, even if they beat Switzerland in their final group game, are not certain to reach the next round because of their goal difference.
Ecuador will meet France in their final group game and, if Switzerland beat or draw against Honduras, they need to match that result to reach the last 16.
Reinaldo Rueda’s side knew defeat against Honduras would knock them out, and they should have taken an early lead.
A long ball from centre-back Jorge Guagua released Valencia, but he side-footed over the crossbar.
Honduras defender Victor Bernardez headed wide when unmarked before setting up his side’s opening goal as his long clearance set Costly free to net emphatically.
The goal was Honduras’ first at a World Cup since 1982, but their lead did not last long. Valencia slotted in an equaliser from close range after a Juan Paredes shot was deflected into his path.
Honduras were showing they had more to them than the aggressive style they have become renowned for, and Bernardez had a long-range free-kick palmed away by keeper Alexander Dominguez.
They then thought they had restored their lead but, when Jerry Bengtson bundled home after a Costly header came off the post, the referee disallowed the goal for handball.
Rueda’s side heeded the warning, and forward Felipe Caicedo looked to be caught by Maynor Figueroa on his way to goal, although the referee rejected Ecuador’s penalty appeals.
However, Valencia nodded in at the far post following a Walter Ayovi free-kick to settle the game with his seventh goal in six internationals.