Qatar Make Unwanted History In World Cup Opener
21 November, 2022
Qatar became the first host nation to lose their opening game at the FIFA World Cup after going down 2-0 to Ecuador on Sunday evening.
2022 FIFA World Cup
Result: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador
Date: 20 November 2022
Venue: Al Bayt Stadium
Qatar were making their debuts in the tournament while Ecuador returned after an eight-year absence, with veteran Fenerbahce striker Enner Valencia leading the line and also captained the side. El Tri had a bright start as Valencia found the back of the net just three minutes in with a header in the box but the goal was chalked off by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for offside.
Ecuador remained on the front foot and Valencia eventually gave them the lead on 15 minutes with a low composed penalty after he was brought down in the box by goalkeeperSaad Al Sheeb. The South American side possessed superior quality on the ball and Valencia doubled the lead on the half-hour mark with a powerful header in the box after a cross by Angelo Preciado to complete his brace.
However, Qatar settled in the game as the first stanza wore on and Almoez Ali had a good chance to pull a goal back on the stroke of halftime after a deep cross found him unmarked in the box but he glanced his header wide. El Tri were happy to sit back and look for chances on transitions early in the second stanza as Romario Ibarra had a chance to put the result beyond doubt after going through on goal but his curling shot was parried away by Al Sheeb.
Qatar struggled to get their foothold in the game after the hour-mark, keeping possession in areas that Ecuador were comfortable with and were yet to have a shot on target. There were concerns for El Tri 13 minutes before time as Valencia limped off the pitch with a seemingly knee problem and was replaced by Jose Charcopa, as the South American side looked to protect his two goals in the closing stages.
Qatar still had a fight in them in the dying minutes as Mohammed Muntari came close to getting a goal back with a volley that dipped just over the crossbar, as Ecuador held on for maximum points and a clean sheet in Group A.