Saturday, June 21, 2014

Honduras lose 2-1 to Ecuador in Brazil

The 2014 Brazil Fifa World Cup fixture between Honduras and Ecuador was almost a perfect match with action swinging from end to end. Both sides missed many early chances with clear view to goal. They both pressed up high to win the ball after losing it. The match pace was sensational as the teams forced good goalkeeping saves. They produced quick inter-passing and physical combats in midfield.

Eno Valencia of Ecuador missed a seater after a long pass that by-passed the midfield and found him onside at the edge of the penalty area. His first touch was super but the second did not match it as he could not wrap his left foot well enough to direct the ball over and around the advancing goalkeeper. Honduras’ Carlo Costly received a similar long pass from the back and utilised the opportunity. The ball bounced once, and he took it in his strike and shot with his left shoelaces past the advancing keeper, Alex Dominguez.

In both cases, the men who delivered the passes were not pressed, he receivers’ of the ball were not picked up, neither were their runs tracked and the goalkeepers came off their line. Only the quality of the finishing was the difference.

The Ecuador equaliser came in different fashion. The hard running Paredes ran rings at the right channel and with the support of Montero, carved himself enough space to pull the trigger. The shot deflected off the defender to the far post. Enner Valencia sneaked behind the defence to tap the ball past a desperate Valladares to equalise. The goal came after committing a cardinal sin of not closing down and lack of tracking.   

It became a blow-by-blow affair, each team giving as much as they took. The midfield contest remained tight with duels in the middle third getting more physical. The all-South American encounter was entertainment value from start to finish as the teams spent most of the time in the attacking third.

Ecuador upped the stakes with a Valencia special from a dead ball situation taken from the left. Montero won the free kick, and Walter Ayovi drove a perfect out-swinger. Enner Valencia out jumped Carlos Carcia and headed the ball downwards to give the Ecuadorians the lead. The marking could have been better and the three-man wall from that angle should have blocked the ball. Honduras had the ability and power to respond, taking the fight to their opponents with renewed vigour. Ecuador were equal to the task defending the lead like wounded lions to protect the three points that keep them in the tournament a little longer.