Ecuador v. Honduras: Final score 2-1, Espinoza and Honduras can't recover from Valencia brace

Espinoza and Los Catrachos fought hard but couldn't muster a result against Ecuador - Julian Finney

Following France humbling Switzerland earlier in the day in Group E action, Honduras and Ecuador fought in Curitiba to avoid being the first team from the group eliminated.

It was a slow start to the match, but that could've been expected in a match that involved a heavily defensive team like Honduras, as well as a suspect pitch in Curitiba. But as the teams felt each other out the pace of play picked up nicely after the first quarter of an hour.

Nearing the 20th minute Ecuador had a golden opportunity to take the lead when Enner Valencia found himself with a breakaway, but he wasn't able to convert, going just wide of goal. Honduras had a solid chance of their own just minutes later when Victor Bernárdez's header off a corner kick also sent just wide of the goal.

Only a few minutes after Bernárdez's miss, Honduras finally got off the schnide, scoring their first goal in the World Cup since 1982. Carlo Costly sent Los Catrachos and their faithful into a frenzy when he buried a shot pass Ecuadorian goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez in the 31st minute.

The joy was short-lived for Honduras though, as Enner Valencia wouldn't miss in the 34th minute, tying the game at a goal each. The goal was the result of Valencia pouncing on a deflected shot from Juan Carlos Paredes before Honduras could recover. But the fireworks were far from done in the first half with ten minutes remaining.

A free kick from outside the box by Bernárdez was saved by Dominguez near the end of the first half, but the biggest save for Ecuador in the first 45 minutes came from a goal post. Carlo Costly's header smacked the post and it looked like Jerry Bengtson had pounced on the rebound for Honduras' second goal, but he was called for the handball. Upon looking at the replay it didn't look as if Bengtson used his hand on the play, but he was offsides so either way the goal should've been disallowed.

The second half didn't have quite the thrilling pace that viewers were given in the first half. Honduras looked like they had taken the lead just after the hour mark when Carlo Costly put his second ball behind the goalkeeper, but he was ruled to be offsides.

Just minutes after that Enner Valencia netted his second of the match, and third of the World Cup, when he had a beautiful header to give El Tri the lead. Many expected a Valencia to star for Ecuador in the World Cup coming into the competition, but the consensus would be that it would be Antonio.

Honduras tried to rescue a point but they just didn't quite have the quality needed. Former Buckeye Roger Espinoza had a couple quality chances at goal, but they fell by the wayside. A speculative effort from deep by Wilson Palacios was the last chance that Los Catrachos could muster.

While Honduras isn't technically eliminated from reaching the knockout stage, it is going to take some kind of miracle for them to move on. Next up for Honduras is Switzerland in Manaus on Wednesday afternoon. Los Catrachos are going to need a number of goals against the Swiss, but from a country that has scored very few in World Cup history it looks unlikely.

Ecuador meanwhile has a lot better chance to move on than Honduras, but things still aren't easy if they want to reach their second knockout stage in the last three World Cups. Next up for El Tri is France on Wednesday afternoon at the same time as Switzerland/Honduras.

Honduras: Noel Valladares; Maynor Figueroa, Victor Bernárdez, Emilio Izaguirre, (Juan Carlos Garcia 45'), Brayan Beckeles; Jorge Claros, Luis Garrido (Mario Martinez 71'), Roger Espinoza, Boniek Garcia (Marvin Chavez 82');Carlo Costly, Jerry Bengtson

Goals: Carlo Costly (31')

Red Cards: None

Ecuador: Alexander Dominguez; Frickson Erazo, Jorge Guagua, Walter Ayovi, Juan Carlos Parcedes; Christian Noboa, Oswaldo Minda (Carlos Gruezo 83'), Jefferson Montero (Gabriel Achilier 90'), Antonio Valencia; Enner Valencia, Felipe Caicedo (Edison Méndez 82')

Goals: Enner Valencia (34', 65')

Red Cards: None

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