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June 20, 2014
• Estádio Joaquim Américo Guimarães, Curitiba, Paraná
Referee: B. Williams
• Attendance: 39224
C. Costly 31'
E. Valencia 34', 65'
It's all set up nicely for the final round of group games. So until then, from me, Keeghann Sinanan, it's been a pleasure.
It's all so tight still in Group E with all four teams still in with a shout of making the round of 16. France lead the way with six points, Ecuador and Switzerland have three apiece and even Honduras, without a point, can still make the next stage.
The clinical Enner Valencia was the start of the show, with a goal in either half to bring Ecuador back from the dead. Lose and they were out, but as it stands, they move to second in Group E.
90' + 5'
NO TIME FOR A RESPONSE! ECUADOR SEAL THE WIN!
90' + 4'
Ecuador practically tried to will that goal to stand by playing on despite the whistles from the referee. Replays show that he pulled up the play for a handball on Valencia. Another 50-50 call that he decided in favour of the defending team. Evened itself out then.
90' + 3'
ANOTHER GOAL RULED OUT! Ecuador counter attack, and Enner Valencia is on hand to convert from his namesake! However, though the assistant's flag stayed down, the referee was whistling long before the goal was scored! It won't stand!
90' + 2'
90' + 1'
Rueda finally pulls the trigger on his final change. Off jogs Montero, who to be honest, was never at the races tonight. Disappointing game individually, but the result is all that matters. Achiller comes on to shore up the defence.
Enner Valencia takes a hard foul from Beckeles, and he takes all the time in the world to get to his feet, milking the clock for all it's worth. The fourth official holds up the board - four added minutes to go.
Honduras need to get the ball back down at the other end of the field. Playing catch up to Ecuador inside their defensive half is only serving to spark La Tri's fans into song.
Ecuador doing well to muster a late spell of possession in the area, as they keep the ball away from Dominguez's goal. They're getting ready to make their final change as well.
HONDURAS KNOCKING AT THE DOOR! Two glimpses of goal in quick succession! A low cross narrowly evades all interested parties inside the area before it's worked to FIgueroa, who cracks an effort from at least 30 yards, which whistles just shy of the top corner!
Enner Valencia is close to claiming his hat trick after a line drive free kick right at Valladares. He simply had to hold onto that strike! Regardless, it's been a great game from the striker.
Changes in the offing from both managers. Off goes the hard working but rather subdued Caicedo, with Mendez his replacement. Gruezo also is subbed in for Minda, while in the white corner, Garcia takes his leave, with Chavez entering the fray.
Edison Vicente Méndez
Montero gets cautioned in a confrontation with Costly. The tempers just starting to boil over a little. The Honduras striker perhaps lucky to avoid getting a card himself.
Yellow CardJefferson Montero
If this scoreline holds, and Honduras lose, then they will need to record a win in their final game against Switzerland, and hope that France do the same against Ecuador - with a decent swing in goal difference between the two games.
WILD SHOT from Espinoza there, who absolutely snatches at a neat layoff from Costly at the top of the box. He sent that effort right into the solar system. No wonder Costly looks pissed.
Frustration starting to fester in the Honduran ranks as their repeated attempts to batter down the yellow wall prove fruitless. Ecuador look quite happy to ride this scoreline all the way out to the final whistle.
Martinez stands over a free kick, but his delivery is delayed as the referee has to step in to sort out some handbags in the area. Business as usual as far as this game has been concerned. The eventual set piece is slammed into the wall rather anti climatically.
Time really starting to ebb away from Honduras here. to their credit, they've largely bossed matters since going behind, but Ecuador are shutting the door at the back.
Really dumb booking for Valencia to pick up. On a high from his brace, I guess he thought that he could get away with anything. He kicks the ball away after Noboa concedes a free kick.
Yellow CardEnner Valencia
Garrido comes off and on comes Mario Martinez for Honduras. A like for like change, as Martinez drops straight into the midfield. Meanwhile, Enner Valencia has just been called for a handball to stop an Ecuadorian foray.
Remember, this is practically do or die for Ecuador here. They simply cannot lose, or else they're out. Now they're in a great position, with 20 minutes left and Honduras needing two goals.
Well, Ecuador needed barely three minutes to respond to Honduras' opener, so it will be interesting to see the response from Los Catrachos to going behind for the first time.
THAT COMPLETES THE TURNAROUND! Ayovi whips in an absolute peach of a ball that's met with a clutch low header from Valencia to double his and Ecuador's tally!
ANOTHER OPENING! No surprise to see Paredes once again at the heart of all things good. His cross goes short to Guagua, who has the chance to convert, but he instead flicks it back across goal and the opening is gone.
BIG CHANCE! Ecuador could have done a lot better there! Paredes latches onto a corner played short, and it finds the centre back completely unmarked, but he nods the ball over!
Dominguez has made every save that he should, and he pulls off another stop here. Bengtson's shot takes a nick of Erazo, but the keeper gets down well to push it around the post.
ECUADOR DENIED A PENALTY? Caicedo is suddenly free inside the box bearing down on goal, but Figueroa is hot on his heels. He gets the slightest, just the slightest touches on the ball, sending Caicedo to the turf in the process. A complete 50-50 call, and the referee errs on the side of caution.
Yellow CardAntonio Valencia
Valencia gets his name taken by the referee for a careless clip on the back of Oscar Garcia's heel that leaves him writhing in a heap on the turf. First booking for La Tri.
Valladares. Guagua. Espinoza. Montero. Costly. Noboa. Bernardez. Paredes. I've been feasting on the exceptional phonetics of the names on hand all game. Just rolls right off the tongue, what a treat.
Paredes once again proves effective in the final third, whipping in a good cross towards the centre of the box after a corner was cleared short. However, Bernardez comes up with a strong defensive header.
Not quite as enticing a beginning to the second half, compared to what we enjoyed before the break. Both teams are noticeably defending with deeper defensive lines - limiting the off the ball potential of the attackers.
Since that early Dominguez save after the restart, Ecuador have been the side in control. However, Honduras are hunting in packs at the back, making space a hard thing to come by.
Enner Valencia has been wonderfully active in the attacking third at times throughout this game, dropping off his man and drifting into pockets of space to link with his teammates.
Tell you what, we've hardly seen anything from Montero, have we? Most of their threat has come down the opposite flank through the drive of their marauding right back Paredes.
Izaguirre has been hauled off at the break to make way for Juan Carlos Garcia. And within moments of the restart, Dominguez is called into action again to snap up Costly's long range try in some style.
Juan Carlos García
The tiki-taka exhibition resumes.
The teams then traded blows, literally kicking lumps out of each other at some stages. Surprisingly only two yellow cards so far, with one of them given for Bengtson's role in a disallowed goal.
Costly sent Honduras into the lead with a great opportunistic finish, but with barely a moment to savour the lead, Ecuador leveled via Enner Valencia's close range finish.
Well, we're still deadlocked at a goal apiece, and I can't begrudge either team from that scoreline. A great game with plenty of hustle and energy, with a bit of quality sprinkled in.
45' + 4'
That's the end of a rip-roaring first half!
45' + 3'
Yellow CardJ. Bengtson
45' + 3'
Replays show that Bengtson was offside when the ball was struck, and also tried to get away with a sneaky handball to get the ball over the line. He's booked for his troubles. So, right decision in the end, but that no call initially from the linesman certainly stoked the fires for a second.
45' + 2'
HONDURAS HAVE A GOAL RULED OUT! Controversy right at the end of the half! Costly heads a cross onto the frame of the goal, and Bengtson bundles it over the line! The assistant's flag stays DOWN, but the referee overrules him and the goal is chalked off!
45' + 1'
STINGER! Bernardez drills it well on target, and Dominguez has to react to tip it away! To be honest, it's a save that you would expect the keeper to make...though his palms must still be ringing from that piledriver!
Costly looks to be okay on the sidelines, and Honduras line up a 30 yard free kick that might just end proceedings for this half. Bernardez is the only man in position for the strike...
Honduras wait with bated breath as Costly goes down with a complaint. Needless to be say, it would be a costly departure should he have to be subbed. I regret nothing.
NOT BAD! Ayovi delivers the corner, and Noboa makes a purposeful flick at the near post that is so very nearly met by Valencia on the opposite side. Just a little too high though.
Ayovi swings it in with his left boot, but a sea of bodies at the near post deny access to the goalkeeper. Figueroa was deemed to have made the last touch. Corner.
Paredes has rejoined the fray, and is fouled by Izaguirre. He's certainly been in the wars, the Ecuador right back. La Tri now have a promising position on the right flank to get a ball in.
This first half has just flown by. All of a sudden. we're only five minutes from the interval. Ecuador, with nearly two thirds of the possession, make a late push to get a second before half time.
At the moment, Ecuador are without Paredes, who took a bit of a beating from Figueroa in a scrap for the ball right in front of the benches. Nothing too malicious from the defender, or at least I hope not!
Figueroa takes out Montero, sending the pint sized winger flying spectacularly. Ecuador cry foul, but their quest for vengeance is denied, when replays show the Honduras defender making clean contact on the ball before the man. That's a statement tackle if I ever saw one.
The goals continue to flow at the 2014 World Cup! An entertaining half has gotten its just rewards with a strike from either side that keeps matters very finely poised. What an even game!
Just like Guagua earlier, you can easily chalk that goal up to a defending mistake. There was no way that Bernardez should have allowed Valencia to make up that much ground on him at the far post. Poor concentration, to say the least.
STUNNING! Right away, La Tri are back level! Paredes attempted a speculative shot from range, and a key deflection took it into the path of Valencia, who beat the flat footed Bernardez to the ball, finishing at the far post!
ECUADOR HIT BACK!
Guagua was made to look rather weak there. Costly simply bullied him to get to that aerial ball first. At 32 years old and with 60 caps under his belt, you would expect a lot better.
A magnificent finish from Costly! Honduras are in front! He beats Guagua in the air to collect a long goal kick from Valladares, and lashes a wonderful first-time shot low into the corner!
COSTLY! SPLENDID OPENER!
About half an hour here and I'm still none the wiser as to who will come out on top when all is said and done. Both sides have registered one golden chance each now.
WHICH IS NEARLY TURNED IN BY BERNARDEZ! Oh, how on earth was he left so unmarked at the far post! He had all the time in the world to guide his header on target, but his missed rather poorly in the end, and he won't be adding to his three international goals just yet.
Espinoza sees a long range tester narrowly deflected wide of the mark. He has a scorcher or two in his locker, but this time, he'll have to settle for the Honduras corner...
Ecuador have had the two only opportunities of the game so far, and Enner Valencia is on hand to lead their search for the opener again. He sprints forward on the break, squaring up to Bernardez, but the Honduras centre back reads his attempted through pass to Caicedo excellently, and makes the interception.
France's sensational 5-2 win over Switzerland earlier in the day has brought the goals per game average for this World Cup to a shade under three goals per match. That's the highest total since the switch to a 32 team format, and let's hope was can live up to those standards tonight!
Make no mistake, that should have been 1-0. Enner Valencia was a tad offside on that play, but the flag stayed down. Ecuador try to force the issue once again, with Paredes lofting a teasing cross towards the head of Caicedo, but Valladares rises to pluck the ball out of the night sky.
ECUADOR WASTE IT! A golden chance for La Tri to storm in front! Enner Valencia latches onto his namesake's ball from the middle of the park, and benefits from the assistant's decision to keep his flag down. He has only the keeper to beat, with Izaguirre struggling to keep up, but he curls his left-footed finish over the top!
Ecuador were second in the Conmebol qualification standings after 10 games, but one win in their final six put them in a scramble to make the finals. However, a clutch victory over Uruguay gave them the points that they needed to seal their progression.
That man Costly again is looking to gain an edge by any means necessary. He slides in late on Guagua to try to catch the ball before it goes over the byeline, but he fails, and the referee intervenes before anything nasty can develop out of that move between the pair.
Costly's been active in this game so far and it's clear that he will be the main threat for Honduras. He takes on a long range shot, needing little encouragement, but he can't seriously trouble Dominguez. Still, signs that Honduras are the side on the ascendancy.
Dominguez over commits himself to a cross, but he finds it taken out of his grasp in the scramble with Guagua and Costly. Luckily, though it's spilled, no Honduras player is there to profit.
Noboa had the chance to go down in the penalty area if he was so inclined, but he elects to stay on his feet after a short stumble. Ecuador are the ones in control at the moment.
Sad end to a promising free kick chance from that last Bernardez foul. Noboa smashes the free kick hopelessly into the wall, and Ayovi doesn't fare much better, looping the rebound well wide.
Bernardez lays down a marker on Enner Valencia with a crunching tackle that sends the referee to his pocket straight away. Yellow card, and I'd wager that it's far from the last time that it will be flashed tonight.
Yellow CardV. Bernárdez
Signs of a real treat in the making. Both sides attacking with some pace, and there's a real strong contingent for each nation in the stands. Superb start to the encounter.
Costly tries to get his side going on the other end of the field, but his low cross from almost right on the byeline is parried by Dominguez, with Erazo mopping up the loose ball.
SPEED! A lively break from Ecuador! Caicedo spreads to the overlapping Montero on the left, and his low cross isn't dealt with properly by Figueroa. Luckily, Bernardez is there to clean up the spill before anyone in yellow can pounce.
So a win will take the victor to second in the group. But should Ecuador lose, their World Cup is done, given that Honduras and Switzerland will play each other on the final day. Honduras can still survive even with a defeat though, but I'm sure that they will want maximum points as well.
These twosides have met 12 times in their history, with seven draws during that streak. Ecuador have just about shaded the remaining matches, with three wins to Honduras' two. Their last meeting in 2013 saw the sides split a 2-2 tie in Houston.
Here we go!
Close to 400 caps between the Honduras back four and goalkeeper. They've easily got one of the oldest squads in this tournament. The anthems have rung out and we're so close.
With goal difference the primary tiebreaker, and with Ecuador still to face a French side that have been dripping with goals, surely the onus is more on Ecuador to get off the board here.
Both teams are without a point so far. But with France blowing Switzerland out of the arena earlier in the day, a win by any margin for either of these teams will see them move second in Group E.
Honduras have not won a match in their World Cup history. And much like their previous appearance in 2010, they've been garnering some stick for getting stuck in. They unsuccessfully tried to ruffle a few French feathers five days ago, and no doubt we will see a few bookings in this one before all is said and done.
The main player in this match for me will be the Ecuador No. 7, Jefferson Montero. The 24-year-old has an engine like a ferrari and when on form, his dynamism is almost unstoppable. He had a fruitless spell with Villarreal from 2010-12, but there's been rumours circling that he could be playing again in Europe as early as next season.
For good measure, Luis Fernando Suarez was also coach of Ecuador from 2004-2007. Both coaches are good friends off the pitch and have both also spoken publicly about their fondness for their former charges and the cultures that surround them.
Speaking of Rueda, he certainly does not lack for knowledge of the Honduran ethos, given that he was the man at the helm for their appearance at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, their first finals for 28 years.
Ecuador pretty much have the full monty to choose from, so coach Reinaldo Rueda makes only one change to the side that lost so painfully against Switzerland. Out goes Carlos Gruezo, and in comes a man 11 years his senior, 30-year-old Oswaldo Minda.
So, for Honduras, Wilson Palacios is suspended thanks to this naughty sending off against France in their tournament opener. As projected pre-match, Jorge Claros replaces the Stoke City man. Claros plays his football back in his homeland, with first division club Motagua, which is based in the capital Tegucigalpa. Boniek Garcia also replaces Osman Chaves - in the second of two changes since the France game.
ECUADOR SUBS: Banguera, Ibarra, Méndez, Rojas, Bone, Arroyo, Ayoví, Bagüí, Saritama, F.Martínez, Achilier, Gruezo.
ECUADOR: Dominguez; Paredes, Guagua, Erazo, Ayovi; Noboa, Minda, A.Valencia, Montero; Caicedo, E.Valencia.
HONDURAS SUBS: López, Chávez, Montes, García, Palacios, Chávez, Delgado, R.Martínez, Najar, Escober, M.Martínez.
HONDURAS: Valladares, Figueroa, Bernardez, Izaguirre, Bengtson, Costly, Garcia, Espinoza, Garrido, Claros, Beckeles.
Starting lineups en route.
Glad to welcome you to Honduras vs Ecuador at the Arena da Baixada. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your guide for all the action.
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