Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s World Cup clash between Ecuador and Senegal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Ecuador will be looking to seal qualification for the knockout stages of the World Cup on Tuesday, when they take on Senegal in what will likely be a winner-takes-all clash at the Khalifa International Stadium.
La Tri have been majorly impressive in Group A, with a win over Qatar on the opening day and a stalemate against the Netherlands on matchday two, while Senegal recorded a victory over Qatar in their second match of proceedings following a loss to the Netherlands in their first fixture.
Ecuador have enjoyed an excellent start to World Cup Group A so far and lead the table with four points from their two matches played, which has put them within touching distance of the last 16.
Gustavo Alfaro has been lauded around the world for his tactical capability, setting up his side with a balance to attack with fluency and also defend in numbers when needed.
On matchday one, Ecuador secured a 2-0 victory over Qatar thanks to a double from star man Enner Valencia, who once again proved to be the hero in their second match against the Netherlands, securing a draw with his 49th-minute strike to cancel out a stunning opener from Cody Gakpo.
Unsurprisingly, talisman Valencia sits top of the World Cup scoring charts on three goals and will be heavily relied upon again this Tuesday against a tricky Senegal backline, should he be passed fit for the game.
Should Ecuador claim all three points, they will qualify for the knockout round of the tournament and could finish as Group A winners if they better the Netherlands result, with the Oranje facing competition hosts Qatar on the same day.
Senegal have also given themselves a fighting chance of qualifying from Group A, owing to their classy victory over Qatar on matchday two of the World Cup.
In a clinical display, the Lions of Teranga dispatched their Qatari opposition by a score of 3-1, as strikes from Boulaye Dia, Famara Diedhiou and Bamba Dieng grabbed all three points at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Undoubtedly, this triumph over Qatar was absolutely imperative to their chances of making it through to the last 16, following a disappointing late collapse to the Netherlands in their first Group A encounter.
Of course, the Senegalese will once again have to contend without their star man Sadio Mane, who was ruled out of competing on the World Cup stage due to injury. Manager Aliou Cisse will hope his strike force of Dia and Diedhiou can continue to shine in his absence in their final group match.
Realistically, only a win will do for Senegal against Ecuador on Tuesday, as even a draw is likely to end their hopes of tournament glory.
Ecuador World Cup form:
Ecuador form (all competitions):
Senegal World Cup form:
Senegal form (all competitions):
Ecuador will be expected to name a strong side once again as they eye a spot in the knockout rounds of the World Cup against Senegal.
Nevertheless, they could have to do without star man and top scorer Enner Valencia, who was stretchered off in the 1-1 draw against the Netherlands putting his availability for the tie in serious doubt.
If Valencia is not available, Ecuador have a decision to make in terms of who will come in to aid their endeavours offensively. Right now, it is looking like a toss-up between Brighton & Hove Albion forward Jeremy Sarmiento or Imbabura man Kevin Rodriguez to fill the void.
For Senegal, they have more or less a full deck of cards to play with heading into their final group A match against Ecuador.
Despite being rocked at the beginning of the tournament with the injury of Sadio Mane, they have quality in attack and defence that will be difficult for Ecuador to break through.
Kalidou Koulibaly and Abdou Diallo are certain to start in central defence, while Ismaila Sarr and Krepin Diatta will provide the width for strikers Boulaye Dia and Famara Diedhiou.
Ecuador possible starting lineup:
Galindez; Porozo, Torres, Hincapie; Preciado, Mendez, Caicedo, Estupinan; Plata, Sarmiento; Estrada
Senegal possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, Jakobs; Sarr, Mendy, Gueye, Diatta; Dia, Diedhiou
We say: Ecuador 1-1 Senegal
In a match that will decide the fate of both sides in World Cup Group A, we expect a tightly-fought match that will present opportunities for both sides.
On this occasion, Ecuador will do just enough to claim the point they need to progress to the knockout rounds of the World Cup.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
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