Qatar 0 – 2 Ecuador


Qatar turned the primary host nation to lose the opening sport of a World Cup as Ecuador kicked off the event with a dominant 2-0 victory because of Enner Valencia’s double.

After months of controversy main as much as the event, focus turned to issues on the pitch as Qatar 2022 started, however there was no respite on the pitch for the hosts as they have been comprehensively outplayed all through their first-ever World Cup match.

Having seen a 3rd-minute header dominated out for offside, Ecuador captain Valencia wrote his title within the historical past books when he scored the primary objective of Qatar 2022 from the penalty spot (16) earlier than he took his tally of World Cup finals targets to 5 with a superb headed second (31).

Ecuador took their foot off the gasoline within the second half but Qatar didn’t muster any type of response as Gustavo Alfaro’s aspect began their World Cup journey with an assured victory and seventh consecutive clear sheet to maneuver high of Group A.

Big moments within the sport…

  • 3 minutes: Enner Valencia heads in opener solely to have effort dominated out for offside after prolonged VAR examine.
  • 16 minutes: Enner Valencia scores first objective of Qatar 2022 from penalty spot after being fouled by goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb.
  • 31 minutes: Enner Valencia doubles his and Ecuador’s lead with towering header – his fifth objective at a World Cup finals.
  • 43 minutes: Valencia jars knee however performs on for a further half-hour earlier than succumbing to his harm.
  • 45+5: Almoez Ali heads Qatar’s greatest probability vast in first-half stoppage time

Hosts Qatar outclassed by Ecuador in World Cup opener…

After an brisk opening ceremony, which featured Hollywood nice Morgan Freeman and South Korean popstar Jung Kook, FIFA president Gianni Infantino declared, “let the show begin”, however Qatar couldn’t have gotten off to a worse begin.

Enner Valencia heads the ball into the online just for VAR to disallow his effort

Valencia headed Ecuador in entrance inside three minutes after goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb unconvincing punched clearance, just for the objective to be chalked off after a prolonged VAR examine noticed an offside which wasn’t initially clear, however the Qatari reprieve was quick-lived.

Goalkeeper Al-Sheeb’s hesitance to have interaction with Valencia as he drove into the realm culminated in him recklessly tripping the Ecuador striker, who dusted himself down and nonchalantly stroked within the ensuing penalty – the primary time a penalty has opened the scoring at a World Cup.

Enner Valencia coolly slots Ecuador ahead from the penalty spot
Enner Valencia coolly slots Ecuador forward from the penalty spot

The gulf at school between the 2 groups was underscored simply after the half-hour mark when Valencia stooped to go Angelo Preciado’s cross emphatically into the Qatar internet for his and Ecuador’s second.

Valencia’s sport regarded to have reached a untimely finish when he hyperextended his knee late within the first half, however he would go on to play one other 30, largely uneventful minutes earlier than finally succumbing to the harm.

Mohammed Muntari rues a missed chance
Mohammed Muntari rues a missed probability

Almoez Ali spurned a wonderful probability to halve the deficit on the stroke of half-time, glancing Qatar’s solely credible probability vast from seven yards, and the hosts have been restricted to efforts from distance after the break, with pictures from Akram Afif and Mohammed Muntari giving Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez one thing to consider.

But what the hosts lacked in assault they made up for with a spirited second-half defensive displaying which prevented Ecuador from inflicting extra embarrassment, although that was not sufficient for Qatar to keep away from setting undesirable World Cup historical past.

Ecuador players celebrate Enner Valencia's goal against Qatar
Ecuador gamers rejoice Enner Valencia’s objective towards Qatar

Unwanted World Cup historical past for hosts Qatar – Opta stats

  • Qatar have develop into the primary host nation to lose their opening sport at that version of the World Cup (W16 D6 earlier than right this moment).
  • Ecuador have saved a clear sheet in every of their final seven matches in all competitions (W3 D4), with Argentina’s Julián Álvarez the final participant to attain towards them again in March.
  • Ecuador scored twice within the first half of a World Cup match for the primary time. This is the second time of their 4 appearances on the World Cup they’ve gained their opening match, with the opposite additionally being 2-0 (towards Poland in 2006).
  • There have been simply 11 pictures on this sport (5 for Qatar, 6 for Ecuador) – no World Cup match on document (since 1966) has seen fewer makes an attempt.
  • Ecuador’s opener was the primary time in World Cup historical past that the opening objective at a single version of the event was scored from the penalty spot.

What the managers mentioned…

Ecuador supervisor Gustavo Alfaro: “It was a great victory. As usual the first match of a World Cup you feel more pressure and tension. We were aware we were going to feel that. We are the youngest team at this World Cup.

“The most necessary factor was to win. We performed the way in which we wished. I’m not completely pleased however I’m calm sufficient as a result of we did what we needed to do. We want to enhance sure issues to succeed in the spherical of 16.

“Enner [Valencia] will play against the Netherlands, there is no doubt about that.”

Ecuador players celebrate Enner Valencia's opening goal against Qatar
Ecuador gamers rejoice Enner Valencia’s opening objective towards Qatar

Qatar coach Felix Sanchez: We fought this sport in a sure approach, however our opponent had their very own concepts. It’s not that we did not wish to assault, however our opponent had their very own weapons.

“If we want to be competitive, we will need to defend, and be very well organised. When we have possession we would like to be more effective.”

What does the end result imply?

Ecuador at the moment are the early leaders in Group A, with Qatar propping up the desk behind Senegal and Netherlands, who play on Monday.

Ecuador face Netherlands of their second group sport on Friday, November 25, at 4pm, whereas Qatar host Senegal on the identical day at 1pm.

The winners of Group A will face the runners-up from Group B, containing England, Wales, USA and Iran. The runner-up in Group A will face the winners of Group B.

Player of the match – Enner Valencia

Enner Valencia celebrates after heading Ecuador 2-0 in entrance towards Qatar

Enner Valencia turned the oldest participant to attain the opening objective at a single version of the World Cup and is now Ecuador’s highest-ever goalscorer on the World Cup, after netting his fourth and fifth targets within the competitors. Including all three of their strikes at Brazil 2014, Valencia turned the primary participant to attain 5 consecutive World Cup targets for a South American nation.


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