FIFA World Cup: Valencia nets first-half brace as Qatar suffer painful start
Al Khor (Qatar), November 20, 2022
Ecuador comprehensively defeated Qatar 2-0 in the opening match of the FIFA World Cup at the Al Bayt Stadium here on Sunday.
From the first moments, Qatar made a disappointing start to their World Cup campaign and became the first host country to lose their opening game.
The coach Felix Sanchez-led team went into the first-half break two goals down as Enner Valencia netted first from the penalty spot and then with a header to put Ecuador in complete control.
There was to be no miraculous comeback at the Al Bayt Stadium, nor was there any sign of remarkable football by the hosts. Qatar's hopes of making it out of Group A now rely on them getting results against Senegal and the Netherlands.
Qatar's debut began in inauspicious fashion, as Ecuador had the ball in their net inside three minutes.
Valencia thought he had put Ecuador in front in the fourth minute with a header from close range after Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb was caught out of position.
However, after a lengthy review from the VAR team, Valencia's goal was ruled out, much to the bemusement of Ecuador's players.
Fans were also left puzzled as no explanation was given at the time but a subsequent replay showed that Michael Estrada's foot and knee were marginally offside during the build up.
The first-half break did not bring a marked change in Qatar's fortunes, with Ecuador still carrying a real threat after the restart. However Qatar managed to save all the threats from the charged up Valencia and Co.