Haris Seferovic climbed off the bench to score in the last minute of stoppage-time, as Switzerland came from behind to edge out Ecuador 2-1 in Brasilia.
With the opening match of Group E heading towards the first draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Real Sociedad striker came on in place of Josip Drmic in the 75th minute, and arrived on the end of Ricardo Rodriguez’s 93rd-minute cross to sweep the ball into the roof of the net.
Enner Valencia put Ecuador in front in the first half at Estadio Nacional, before Admir Mehmedi equalised just two minutes after on for the Swiss in the second.
El Tri skipper and ex-Villarreal man Antonio Valencia played the full match. Another former yellow Jefferson Montero, who also played for Levante, lasted 76 minutes for the South Americans, while fellow old Les Granotes player Felipe Caicedo featured for 70.
Switzerland came through their UEFA qualifying group unbeaten with seven wins and three draws, but they were definitely the second best in the first half and some very slack defending saw them fall behind.
Striker Valencia scored in the friendly against England 11 days ago, and he was on target again as he lost his marker before heading home Walter Avoyi’s free kick.
Ecuador kept their opponents at bay for the remainder of the first 45 minutes, with Alexander Dominguez denying Valon Behrami from close-range while Xherdan Shaqiri had a shot blocked by Frickson Erazo.
Mehmedi was thrown on at half-time in place of Valentin Stocker, and made his mark in the game just 122 seconds after his introduction – using his strength to hold off his marker at the near post and power home Rodriguez’s corner.
Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side were wrongly denied a second goal by the offside flag on 70 minutes. Drmic coolly slotted home after he latched on to Rodriguez’s intended ball which took a minor deflection on its way through, though the decisive touch came off Ecuadorian defender Jorge Guagua and not Granit Xhaka.
Reinaldo Rueda’s men very nearly retook the lead after a huge lapse in communication between Johan Djourou and goalkeeper Diego Benaglio allowed Valencia to nip the ball past. Fortunately for the Europeans, covering centre-half Steve von Bergen was on hand to clear the danger.
Into stoppage-time and with the tournament’s first draw on the cards, things changed in the most dramatic of ways. Ecuador pressed and Valencia’s ball across the area found Michael Arroyo, who took too long and his attempted cutback was thwarted by a brilliantly-timed challenge from Behrami.
The former West Ham United player broke and evaded one challenge, with the referee playing advantage, before finding Shaqiri who immediately switched play to Rodriguez on the left. And Seferovic arrived at the near post to sweep the winger’s low cross into the roof of the net, giving his side all three points.
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