Valencia score a World Cup-best third goal in Ecuador’s draw

Ener Valencia of Ecuador faces his teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the World Cup Group A football match between the Netherlands and Ecuador at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, 25 November 2022. I celebrated. (Natacha Pisarenko/AP Photo)

ALRAYAN, Qatar—Ecuadorian striker Ener Valencia scored a World Cup-best third goal on Friday in a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands, who ruled out hosts Qatar from the tournament.

The draw awarded both the Netherlands and Ecuador 1 point, moving them to 4 points in Group A. Qatar left with 0 points after losing 3-1 to Senegal a few hours earlier.

Ecuador dominated the majority of the game after Cody Gakpo fired a rising shot from the edge of the penalty area to put the Netherlands ahead in the sixth minute. It was the fastest goal ever scored for Qatar.

Ecuador equalized in the 49th minute when Valencia passed the ball into an empty net after Pervis Estupignan’s shot was deflected by goalkeeper Andries Noppelt.

Valencia’s third goal in Qatar made it all six Ecuador goals in the World Cup since the competition began in 2014 after scoring both in a 2-0 win over the hosts on Sunday. Extending his winning streak to record.

Nearly everyone from the Ecuador national team joined the inspiring captain as he celebrated his team’s goal. Kneeling together in a circle pointing to the night sky at Khalifa International Stadium created a powerful image of unity.

A few minutes later, Gonzalo Plata’s left-footed shot shook the Dutch crossbar and Ecuador almost scored the winning goal.

Ecuador can advance to a draw with Senegal on Tuesday. The Netherlands will face Qatar.

Graham Dunbar

Associated Press