World Cup 2022- Ecuador Beats Hosts Qatar In Opener

Ecuador's player celebrate after winning the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Enner Valencia, a seasoned attacker, scored twice to help Ecuador handily beat Qatar on Sunday. In the tournament’s history, this was the first opening-game defeat for a host nation. The magnitude of the occasion overwhelmed the Qataris as Valencia gave the South Americans a commanding lead in the first half with an early penalty and a well-placed header in the 31st minute.

“Obviously this was not what we were hoping for,” Qatar coach Felix Sanchez said.

“There is no excuse, I want to congratulate our opponents Ecuador. There is a lot of room for improvement.

“We did not play at our best level. Maybe the responsibility and the nerves got the better of us. We just have to let go and forget about it and be more competitive. We can do it.”

In front of 67,372 spectators at the Al Bayt Stadium, the hosts’ situation may have been considerably worse if Valencia, 33, had not had a third-minute header disallowed for a slight offside when goalkeeper Saad al-Sheeb flapped at the ball.

Al-Sheeb later fouled Valencia as the Ecuadorian was in the box and then dove the wrong way as Valencia calmly converted the ensuing penalty in the 16th minute.

In order to accept Angelo Preciado’s cross practically from behind him and head past al-Sheeb once again, Valencia had to be unmarked, but he still displayed excellent skill.

“I dreamt so many times about winning this opening match. This was a dream that I managed to score and help my team get the three points,” Valencia said.

“We managed to score a couple of quick goals which helped us to get control of the game and win the three points … We think we can go very far and perform well.”

After that goal, the contest was finished and the second half was played lazily. Before the game’s end, several Qatar supporters fled as Ecuador supporters cheered “Olé!”

Despite having an enviously long period of time to interact and practice together, including summer camps in Europe, Qatar seemed to be entirely toothless. Almoez Ali’s best chance came towards the end of the first half when he headed wide but was afterwards adjudged to be offside.

Mohammed Muntari also missed a shot in the closing moments. Due to the fact that both teams now face games against Senegal and the Netherlands, Qatar’s chances of gaining points or progressing past the group stage are extremely slim. Ecuador aims to top their best World Cup showing, which came in 2006 when they advanced to the round of 16.

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