Ecuador’s young team is tantalisingly close to a record-equalling last-16 place in the World Cup if they can beat or draw with Senegal in their Group A showdown at the Khalifa International Stadium on Tuesday.
The South Americans have had a good start to the tournament, easily beating hosts Qatar 2-0 before outplaying The Netherlands in a 1-1 draw that made a mockery of the gulf in their world rankings.
The job is not done, however, as defeat to African champions Senegal could send Ecuador home rather than enable them to reach the knockout round for the second time in their history. “We have a bigger battle coming,” coach Gustavo Alfaro had warned after the euphoria of the performance against the Dutch.
So far, Ecuador have been reliant on their veteran striker Enner Valencia, who has scored all their goals to add to his three at the 2014 World Cup. Once again, Ecuador are sweating on Valencia’s fitness after he was stretchered off late on in the game against the Dutchmen with a recurrence of a knee strain suffered against Qatar.
Senegal, on the other hand, are a less intimidating opposition without the injured Sadio Mane and know they have to improve to beat Ecuador after losing 2-0 to The Netherlands but beating Qatar 3-1 to sit third in the group with three points.

By admin