Ecuador forward Enner Valencia on Friday was stretchered off during a match against the Netherlands, after having seemingly hurt his knee in the exact region where he had sustained a previous injury in the opening match against Qatar.
Kevin Rodriguez replaced his skipper in the 90th minute.
Earlier in the game, the Golden Boot leader became the first South American and fourth player overall in FIFA World Cup history to score six consecutive goals for his nation.
“Portuguese Eusebio in 1966, Paolo Rossi with Italy in 1982 and Oleg Salenko with Russia in 1994” have recorded the feat before Valencia, Opta says.
Additionally, Valencia also became the highest goalscorer in Qatar 2022 with his equaliser in the 49th minute. This was his third goal in this edition of the quadrennial showpiece, the first two having come in a winning cause against host Qatar in the tournament opener on November 20.
Valencia was the first to react, after an Estupinan shot from the edge of the box at the Khalifa International Stadium was parried away by the Dutch ‘keeper Andries Noppert. He stabbed the ball in and wheeled away in celebration, with Netherlands players appealing, without success, for an offside.
Valencia has 38 international goals in 76 appearances. In Fenerbahce SK colours this season, the 33-year-old has netted on 17 occasions.
An official update on the injury is awaited.