Qatar turned the primary dwelling group to lose their opening World Cup match as Ecuador cruised to a 2-0 victory over the hosts, with Enner Valencia scoring twice within the match curtain-raiser on Sunday. Asian champions Qatar loved the backing of the vast majority of the group on the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium, however couldn’t observe a glitzy opening ceremony with an announcement efficiency. Ecuador thought they’d made a dream begin after they silenced the house followers as Valencia headed in, just for the aim to be dominated out by VAR for an offside within the build-up.
Valencia did break the impasse with a penalty within the sixteenth minute and doubled his tally simply after the half-hour mark.
Qatar improved barely within the second interval, however by the tip of the 90 minutes, the joy which greeted the build-up — that includes Morgan Freeman and BTS star Jung Kook — was a distant reminiscence as hundreds of followers left early amid a deflated environment.
Felix Sanchez’s Qatar will probably want a constructive consequence of their second Group A match in opposition to Senegal on Friday simply to keep away from the ignominy of changing into solely the second hosts, after South Africa in 2010, to be dumped out within the first spherical.
Hopes have been excessive among the many crowd that Qatar might make a successful begin, however the deficiencies of the World Cup debutants have been ruthlessly uncovered by a powerful Ecuador.
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Qatar did not even muster a shot on course within the sport, with spectators submitting out of the stands lengthy earlier than the ultimate whistle.
Within the 92-year historical past of the match, dwelling international locations had beforehand received 16 and drawn six of their opening matches.
– Early VAR intervention –
The South Individuals had the ball within the web inside three minutes when captain Valencia nodded dwelling from Felix Torres’ miscued overhead kick.
VAR officers noticed an offside in opposition to Michael Estrada within the build-up after Torres challenged for the ball with Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb.
Ecuador have been utterly dominant within the early exchanges, although, and have been awarded a penalty after Valencia was tripped by Al Sheeb when via on aim.
The previous West Ham ahead coolly despatched Al Sheeb the flawed method from the spot and stroked the ball into the underside nook to attain his thirty sixth worldwide aim.
Ecuador didn’t have to attend lengthy to double their benefit as, after a surging run from Moises Caicedo, right-back Angelo Preciado swung in a cross which Valencia met with a thumping header.
Even the small part of noticeably enthusiastic Qatari followers located behind the aim, who arrived collectively after the vast majority of the group and wore matching t-shirts, briefly fell silent.
Almoez Ali, the hero of Qatar’s 2019 Asian Cup success, ought to have pulled one again on the stroke of half-time however might solely steer a free header vast from eight yards out.
Ecuador allowed Qatar extra of the ball after the break however nonetheless appeared the extra harmful facet, with Romario Ibarra bringing a diving save from Al Sheeb.
Valencia hobbled off within the 77th minute after being on the flawed finish of a sequence of heavy challenges, though that will solely have taken a few of the shine off a well-known evening for Ecuador.
By the point an official attendance of 67,372 was learn out over the tannoy, the stadium was barely half full.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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