Football, Sport

2022 World Cup: Ecuador put two past host Qatar

Ecuador defeat Qatar

Ecuador beat hosts Qatar at the Al Bayt Stadium in the opening match of the 2022 World Cup.

Enner Valencia was the hero as 60,000 fans witnessed a host nation lose the opening game for the first time in history.

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The Fenerbahce star thought he had given his country an early lead after he poked the ball in the third minute. However, after Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and the semi-automated offside technology checks, it was chalked off for offside in the build-up.

Qatar goalkeeper Saad Abdullah Al Sheeb then brought down Valencia in the box to concede a penalty. Valencia, who captained his country, scored from the spot-kick to give Ecuador the lead.

His penalty is the first in a World Cup opener since 2014, when Neymar scored a penalty for Brazil against Croatia.

Enner Valencia
Enner Valencia celebrates after scoring for Ecuador

The match was more of Ecuador, with Qatar reduced to panic clearances and short passes.

Enner Valencia was on the scoresheet again when he put a beautiful header past Al Sheeb in the 31st minute after Angelo Preciado’s cross.

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Qatar, however, improved in the second half but could not find a way through.

Their closes chance fell to substitute Mohammed Muntari in the 85th minute. He had received a pass and tried to catch Hernan Ismael Galindez off his line, but his attempt went over.

Akram Afif also had a chance to shoot, but his attempt was wide off-target.

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Ecuador are top of the group, while Qatar are bottom, pending the game between Senegal and the Netherlands on Monday.

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Ademola is a writer, editor and proofreader with many years of experience. He loves music, football and books.

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