Qatar lose to Ecuador 0-2 in World Cup debut
Doha: Veteran Enner Valencia scored twice in the first half as Ecuador clinched the opening match of the FIFA World Cup, beating hosts Qatar 2-0 at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday.
After a stunning opening ceremony witnessed by 67,372 spectators, the home team was far from remarkable in their World Cup play debut as the South Americans continued to dominate in the one-sided matchup.
At 4 o’clock on Friday, Senegal and Qatar will square off in matchday two at Al Thumama Stadium.
Additionally, on Friday at 7 p.m. at Khalifa International Stadium, Ecuador will play the Netherlands.
Ecuador captain Valencia scored the opening goal for Qatar 2022 off a penalty in the 16th minute after having his third-minute goal chalked off by VAR for offside. He then added a second goal with a spectacular header in the 31st minute.
Almoez Ali, Abdulaziz Hatem, and substitute Mohammed Muntari were off target in rare Qatar attempts as the Felix Sanchez-coached side hardly posed a threat to Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez.
In the 16th minute, Valencia was tripped by goalie Saad Al Sheeb in a one-on-one situation after Michel Estrada’s assist, and Italian referee Daniele Orsato gave Ecuador a penalty kick.
Valencia headed in an Angelo Preciado cross in the 31st minute to double the visitors’ lead, depending on quick counterattacks as Qatari players rushed to score the equalizer.
Almoez Ali and Hassan Al Haydos were dropped in favor of Mohammed Muntari and Mohammed Waad by Spanish coach Felix Sanchez.
In the 86th minute, Muntari looked poised to score, but his shot went over the crossbar.
Qatar faces a challenging assignment in their attempt to advance to the knockout round after being the first host side to lose the World Cup opener. In their final two Group A games, they will face African champions Senegal and the Netherlands.