World Cup: Subs shine as Switzerland edges Ecuador in Group E

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Brasilia, Brazil (4E Sports) – Substitute Haris Seferovic scored deep into injury time to lift Switzerland to a 2-1 triumph over Ecuador Sunday in Group E of the World Cup at Estadio Nacional.

With the win, the Swiss grabbed early lead in Group E with three points while Ecuador dropped to the cellar.

The in-form Enner Valencia scored his fifth goal in the past five international appearances to give the South Americans the lead after 22 minutes.

However, Admir Mehmedi tied the match three minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute.

Seferovic, who last netted for his club, Real Sociedad in November, was on hand to convert Ricardo Rodriguez’s low cross to spark wild celebrations from the Swiss.

Ecuador started the match with a high-tempo style of play, launching attack after attack during the opening minutes but the Switzerland defense stood firm.

Ecuador’s lone striker, Josip Drmic, had a sight of goal in the 12th minute but Jorge Guagua to make a timely challenge as the Europeans found their feet.

Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri tried their luck from outside the box but goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez was there to thwart Switzerland’s scoring attempts.

However, Switzerland’s defense faltered in the 22nd minute as Valencia headed home Walter Ayovi’s pinpoint delivery for a 1-0 Ecuador lead.

Valencia has played a more forward role in the Ecuador team since the death of Christian Benitez last July. As part of their celebrations, the Ecuador players pointed to the sky in tribute to their late team-mate.

Ecuador looked to extend their lead two minutes before the break but Johan Djourou made a last-ditch block to deny Jefferson Montero after Felipe Caicedo had played the winger in.

Mehmedi was introduced in the second half and paid almost instant dividends. Just as Switzerland’s marking was found wanting for the game’s opening goal, Ecuador allowed the Freiburg forward far too much room to head Rodriguez’s corner into the net.

In stoppage time, Ecuador substitute Michael Arroyo erred in delaying his shot, allowing Switzerland to break and after Behrami had made a superb tackle to set them away, Seferovic fired home the winner with virtually the last kick.

Switzerland tackles France in Salvador Friday while Honduras is next up for Ecuador later on the same day in Curitiba.

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