AL-RAYAN, Qatar (AP) — Ecuador striker Ener Valencia scored the best third goal of the World Cup in a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands on Friday that knocked host nation Qatar out of the tournament.
The draw gave both the Netherlands and Ecuador a point apiece to move them to four points in Group A. That left Qatar with zero points after a 3-1 loss to Senegal a few hours earlier.
Ecuador dominated most of the game after Cody Gakpo took the lead in the sixth minute of the Dutch goal with a shot from the edge of the penalty area. It was the fastest goal ever scored in Qatar.
Ecuador equalized in the 49th minute when Valencia put the ball into an empty net after Pervis Estupinan’s shot was deflected by goalkeeper Andres Neupert.
Valencia’s third goal in Qatar – after scoring both goals in Sunday’s 2-0 win over the hosts – extended Ecuador’s streak to a total of six World Cup goals since the start of the 2014 tournament.
Almost the entire Ecuadorian team joined the group goal celebration with their inspirational captain. It created a powerful image of unity by coming together in a circle pointing to the night sky at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Ecuador nearly scored the winner a minute later when the Dutchman’s crossbar was hit by a chipped shot from Gonzalo Plata.
Ecuador play Senegal on Tuesday, needing just a draw to advance, and the Netherlands play Qatar.