Enner Valencia, hero and MVP of Qatar-Ecuador

Author of a double and captain of a well-oiled Ecuadorian collective, Enner Valencia was the big man of this opening match before going out on injury a quarter of an hour from time. And too bad if he made the emir shed a few tears.


There is now a common point between Eusébio, Paolo Rossi, Oleg Salenko and Enner Valencia: all have scored five to six consecutive goals during their selections for the World Cup. After Switzerland and a double against Honduras in 2014, the captain of the Sorting came out of its box to put Qatar in its place. A penalty that he himself caused, then a header in extension on a candy from Angelo Preciado prevented him from rehashing a first offside pawn from the start of hostilities. Yes, Enner was venerable from the start.

Bomber and alimony

Between the lines, in the air, behind and in front of goal, Valencia had smelled the scent of easy-to-carve prey. “He gave us a lot of problems” , blew in the mixed zone Karim Boudiaf, the Qatari international midfielder who put a few cleats on the lawn of Al-Bayt. Here too, Enner Valencia took it without flinching. Until the 75e minute, where his right knee said stop. “The doctors will assess me, but I hope to be able to play in the second game against the Netherlands” , confided the first MVP of the World Cup. For his coach Gustavo Alfaro, it’s a matter of life or death. “If I had to elect myself (the MVP)I would give it to Enner Valencia every timethundered the Argentine tenor. Enner will be there against the Netherlands, nobody will take him away from me. »

Inevitably, the Orange and the Lions of Teranga will pay particular attention following this introduction. Even though the current bomber from Fenerbahçe is far from unknown. Beyond having given Stade Rennes headaches a few weeks ago in the Europa League (a penalty goal on the way out and a header on the way back, well, well), Valencia is above all the top scorer in the history of the Ecuadorian selection (37 pawns). A man who has been squatting on professional lawns for ten years, who went through the Premier League at West Ham and who shared André-Pierre Gignac’s napkin ring with the Tigers. A fellow ready to do anything for his nation, but also to always get by. As during this international meeting against Chile, in 2016, when Valencia simulated an injury to be evacuated from the stadium with an oxygen mask. The reason ? The police showed up that night because the 33-year-old guy was not paying child support for his daughter. Future opponents of Ecuador have been warned: Valencia is ready for anything.

Ecuador silting up Qatar

By Andrea Chazy, at Al-Bayt Stadium
All comments collected by AC and MR.

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