Ecuador's draw with Dutch knocks out hosts

Ecuador striker Enner Valencia earned his country a 1-1 World Cup draw against the Netherlands that eliminated host nation Qatar from the tournament.

Friday's draw gave both the Dutch and Ecuador one point apiece to move them to four points in Group A. Qatar have lost both their matches, against Ecuador and Senegal.

Valencia has become a talisman on the biggest stage and his 49th-minute leveller against the Dutch made him the top scorer at this World Cup with his third goal in Qatar.

It also extended the 33-year-old veteran's streak to scoring all six Ecuador goals at World Cups since the 2014 tournament.

The result eliminated host nation Qatar just five days after the start of its home World Cup.

The draw gave both the Dutch and Ecuador one point apiece to move them to four points in Group A. It left Qatar with zero points after losing 3-1 to Senegal hours earlier.

Ecuador dominated much of the game after Cody Gakpo fired the Dutch into a sixth-minute lead with a rising shot from the edge of the penalty area. It was the fastest goal scored so far in Qatar.

Ecuador equalised when Valencia passed the ball into an empty net after Pervis Estupinan's shot was pushed away by goalkeeper Andries Noppert.

Almost the entire Ecuador squad joined their inspirational captain in a collective goal celebration. It created a powerful image of unity as they knelt together in a circle pointing to the night sky.

Ecuador almost got a deserved winning goal minutes later when the Netherlands crossbar was rattled by a rising left-foot shot from Gonzalo Plata.

Ecuador plays Senegal on Tuesday, needing just a draw to advance, Netherlands will play Qatar.

Ecuador may have to do it without Valencia, though. He was stretchered off the field in the 90th minute. He was able to get up and walk the bench, where a bag of ice was taped to his right leg.

The Dutch managed their first-half lead efficiently without having another attempt on goal before Ecuador players were angered by a possible leveller being disallowed in stoppage time.

When Estupinan deflected the ball into the net through a crowded goalmouth, it was ruled that goalkeeper Noppert's view of the original shot was blocked by Jackson Porozo standing offside.

Estupinan was involved again in the valid goal that capitalised on some ragged play in the Netherlands defence after Noppert was almost caught in possession before clearing the ball weakly.

Until Gakpo's goal, Ecuador had not conceded a goal in more than 11 hours' play, including seven clean sheets, since March when Argentina scored in a World Cup qualifying game that ended 1-1.

This draw ended the Netherlands' seven-game winning streak in group stage matches at World Cups.

"They had a few biters, guys who were hot on your heels," said an exasperated Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk afterwards, conceding they made it hard for Louis van Gaal's side to settle into their slick passing.

Ecuador coach Gustavo Alfaro was upbeat, however. "We didn't win because we didn't finish some chances, the opportunities that you get, you need to score," he said.

"That's what we lacked. However I am proud to lead this young, talented squad. We are up to the challenge."

Van Gaal said: "I think we did not play a good match.

"We didn't play well in ball possession, that was our problem in the first match. And all the second balls, all the duels were for Ecuador.

"We're working on (keeping) possession and we will continue to work on that. Whether we will make it, I can't guarantee that. But I think so, we have several options in the midfield and I can try them out."

with pa