Qatar0-2 Ecuador: Enner Valencia scores twice as hosts lose their first World Cup match

Qatar became the first host country to lose the opener of a World Cup, as Ecuador opened the tournament with a 2-0 win thanks to Enner Valencia’s double.

After months of controversy leading up to the event, the focus shifted to matters on the field as Qatar 2022 kicked off, but the hosts were well outplayed during their first-ever World Cup encounter.

After having a third-minute header called out for offside, Ecuador captain Valencia etched his name in history by scoring the first goal of Qatar 2022 from the penalty spot (16), before adding a magnificent header (31).

Enner Valencia scoring from the penalty spot (16)

Ecuador let off the throttle in the second half, but Qatar failed to respond as Gustavo Alfaro’s team began their World Cup adventure with an easy victory and sixth consecutive clean sheet to advance to the top of Group A.

Everything was present in Qatar except their National team

After an exuberant opening ceremony that included Hollywood legend Morgan Freeman and South Korean popstar Jung Kook, FIFA President Gianni Infantino exclaimed, “Let the show begin,” but Qatar couldn’t have started much worse.

Qatar opening ceremony

After goalkeeper Saad Al-poor Sheeb’s punched clearing, Valencia headed Ecuador ahead inside three minutes, only for the score to be called out after a lengthy VAR check found an offside that wasn’t first obvious, but the Qatari reprieve was brief.

Al-hesitation Sheeb’s to confront Valencia as he drove into the area resulted in him carelessly tripping the Ecuador striker, who dusted himself down and smoothly stroked in the following penalty – the first time a penalty has opened the scoring at a World Cup.

Valencia stooped just after the half-hour mark to head Angelo Preciado’s cross firmly into the Qatar net for his and Ecuador’s second goal.

Valencia’s game appeared to be over when he hyperextended his knee late in the first half, but he went on to play another 30, mostly uneventful minutes until succumbing to the injury.

On the stroke of halftime, Almoez Ali missed a glorious chance to cut the deficit in half, glancing Qatar’s only credible chance wide from seven yards, and the hosts were limited to long-range efforts after the break, with shots from Akram Afif and Mohammed Muntari giving Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez something to think about.

What the hosts lacked in attack, they made up for with a spirited second-half defensive performance that kept Ecuador from inflicting further embarrassment, though it was not enough to keep Qatar from making unwanted World Cup history.

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