Enner Valencia seems to be absent from the 2022 World Cup for Ecuador.
The striker was doubtful for the match against the Netherlands after limping off in the tournament opener against Qatar – but managed to get on the scoresheet once again for his country.
Valencia have three goals in the competition, more than anyone. There is significant concern, however, that the striker is now out for the remainder of the tournament, having fallen without any contact from anyone else, clutching his right knee. Valencia has been stretched.
Cody Gakpo opened the scoring after just five minutes and four seconds to score the first goal of the 2022 World Cup so far. The Dutch No.8, linked with a plethora of Premier League giants, latched on to a ball from Davy Klaassen after a hood from Manchester City defender Nathan Ake.
The instinct of the strikers 🧠Enner Valencia equalizes for Ecuador! #ITVFootball | #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/zPsz7dllzhNovember 25, 2022
By scoring, Gakpo became the first player in the tournament to score in two separate games in the tournament. With Senegal beating Qatar 3-1 in the previous Group A match – and Gakpo has now scored two goals in the competition – there’s a real chance the PSV star will rack up his tally against hosts Qatar in the final group game to put themselves firmly within the framework of the Golden Boot.
Ecuador fought their way back into the competition, though, with Valencia then following Gakpo’s lead and scoring in back-to-back 2022 World Cup matches. The former Everton and West Ham striker United, now in the Turkish top flight, were the first to save Noppert after Estupinian tested the inexperienced goalkeeper.
It was suspected that Valencia too would be ruled offside when he first reacted on the occasion, but on closer inspection Ake was playing the forward for his third goal of the tournament – taking him to the top of the league table. scorers, at least until all the other teams play their second match in the competition.
Ecuador thought they had equalized … But it’s ruled out for offside! 😕#ITVFootball | #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/5rVXfd16n8November 25, 2022
It was also a Dutch side without two starters, in Matthijs de Ligt and Memphis Depay – for two very different reasons. Watford’s Ismaila Sarr tore De Ligt to shreds in the Dutch opener against Senegal before Gakpo again found the breakthrough. The Bayern Munich centre-back found himself dropped for youngster Jurrien Timber – another product of Ajax’s famed academy – while Barcelona frontman Memphis Depay was only deemed fit enough to take part for a while. 45 minutes of this game.
Sure enough, Memphis – the Oranje’s second-highest goalscorer of all time behind former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie – arrived for the second 45 as a half-time substitute.
The Group A winner of the Netherlands and Ecuador will face the Group B runners-up of England and Wales in the Round of 16 of the World Cup.