Three extraordinary minutes sum up Swiss win over Ecuador
By Brian Homewood
BRASILIA (Reuters) - Three extraordinary minutes of stoppage-time encapsulated Switzerland's 2-1 win over Ecuador, providing a fitting finish to a hit-and-miss game that was absorbing and entertaining throughout despite a lack of finesse.
With the score at 1-1, Switzerland wasted a golden chance to counter-attack when Xherdan Shaqiri passed the ball 30 meters backwards, earning a chorus of boos around the stadium.
Almost immediately, Antonio Valencia burst down the right for Ecuador and centered for Michael Arroyo, but the substitute dallied too long over his shot and gave Talon Behrami the chance to make a saving tackle.
Behrami collected the ball, burst out of defense, was brought to the ground by a crunching tackle but, seeing the chance to break, got up and swept the ball out to his right to Granit Xhaka.
He sent a crossfield pass to Ricardo Rodriguez and the left back's low cross was swept into the net by substitute Haris Seferovic, who timed his run perfectly to get in behind three defenders.
The previous 90 minutes were entertaining, intense and produced plenty of chances even if they lacked quality.
On paper, Switzerland were the more accomplished side, with most of their players based with top Bundesliga or Serie A clubs, while Ecuador were short on top-level experience.
But, as so often at the World Cup, that did not count for much and the two teams produced an evenly balanced match in which both looked to attack. Continued...