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Ecuador rescue Dutch draw to keep hope alive

Enner Valencia kept up his World Cup scoring streak to secure a comeback point for Ecuador against the Netherlands, a result which sees hosts Qatar become the first side to be eliminated from this year’s competition.

Netherlands got off to the ideal start when Cody Gakpo thundered in a fantastic left-footed strike from the edge of the area for the fastest goal of the competition so far, coming in at five minutes and four seconds.

With the final kick of the first half, Ecuador, who were the better side after conceding, thought they had equalised when Pervis Estupiñán diverted the ball home, only for it to be ruled out for a very narrow offside call.

But four minutes after the restart, La Tri did get the leveller they deserved when Andries Noppert parried into the path of Valencia and he continued his hot streak to net his third of the competition from close range.

It means he has now netted his country’s last six successive World Cup goals but Gonzalo Plata almost ended his run moments later when he fired a vicious strike at goal, only to be denied a famous winner by the crossbar.

The result leaves both sides well placed to progress to the last 16, with Qatar eliminated on zero points after two games, although Ecuador were dealt a huge late blow when captain and talisman Valencia was stretchered off the field.

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