Ecuador held the Netherlands to a thrilling 1-1 draw in the second round of group matches in the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Netherlands: Andries Noppert; Jurrien Timber, Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Ake; Denzel Dumfries, Teun Koopmeiners, Frenkie de Jong, Daley Blind; Davy Klaassen; Cody Gakpo, Steven Bergwijn.
Ecuador: Hernan Galindez; Angelo Preciado, Jackson Porozo, Felix Torres, Piero Hincapie, Pervis Estupinan; Gonzalo Plata, Jhegson Mendez, Moises Caicedo, Enner Valencia; Michael Estrada.
The Netherlands were set to make something out of this game from the kick-off of the game but it didn’t go as planned.
They had lost only two times against South American opponents, winning eight times and drawing four.
The two teams have met two times, with the Netherlands having the upperhand, winning one and drawing one.
It was a dramatic early start as the referee blew for the kick-off. Both sides took to a spirited start, attacking fast and looking for an early goal.
But luck fell on the Dutch just six minutes into the game; Klassen reined in a deflected pass and fed it to Gody Gakpo.
Gody Gakpo took a step down the left and fired from outside the box into the top corner. It was a great early strike that gave the Dutch a 1-0 lead.
Ecuador quickly ramped up attempts to find an equaliser. They increase the pressure and troubled the Dutch’s defence.
The South Americans closed up the midfield and sped up their attacking pace, giving the Dutch some headache in the box.
However, the Netherlands refused to be consigned to their own box and equally attacked and pressed for a second goal.
The game turned a bit aggressive as both sides attacked with great speed and contested for possession equally.
Ecuador came across a series of chances, but a perfect opportunity came in the 28th minute.
Valencia had dribbled pass Timber in the Dutch box and squared a pass to Estrada, whose shot was deflected for a corner kick.
After several attempts, Ecuador finally broke the goal deadlock in the stoppage-time of the first half. Plata had blasted back a cleared corner kick, and it was deflected into the net. The Ecuadorians wheels into celebration, but the offside flag was raised, and the goal ruled out.
That would have been a last-minute first-half equaliser, but the Dutch were lucky as they went into the first-half break with the narrow 1-0 lead.
As the second half began, Ecuador kept up the pressure early and pushed for an equaliser. They had done a great job in the first half, making the game a bit difficult for the Dutch after conceding first.
Just four minutes into the second half, they scored their deserved equaliser, which counts this time. It was Valencia with the goal.
After the equaliser, the South Americans never retreated to the defence and effectively marked out the Dutch and contested for possession in the game.
The Netherlands, on the other hand, attempted to regain their lead as they ramped up their attack. It was an engaging and hotly contested encounter, with both sides giving a good account of themselves.
With few minutes remaining into the game, the score line still stood at 1-1 draw, as both sides failed to break the tie.