Footy Times

Ecuador brush aside hosts Qatar in World Cup Opener

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Hosts Qatar kicked off the 2022 Fifa World Cup in dismal fashion, losing to Ecuador 0-2 in a largely one-sided match at Al Bayt stadium on Sunday.

Six months had been spent in camp preparing for the competition and working on tactics, but a tense and fragmented performance resulted in a loss in Group A.

With Africa Cup of Nations champions Senegal and three-time finalists the Netherlands up next, this appeared to be Qatar’s easiest match, yet they were completely outclassed.

Enner Valencia’s close-range header was disallowed for offside by the video assistance referee, but the South Americans eventually broke the deadlock shortly thereafter.

Saad Al Sheeb, the inconsistent goalie for Qatar, knocked down Valencia in the box, and the former West Ham forward stepped up to convert the penalty kick.

Before the interval, the Al Bayt Stadium was eerily silent due to Valencia’s second header, which made matters worse for the home team.

Many fans that departed at halftime did not return, leaving the stadium roughly half empty for the majority of the second half.

It contributed to a lacklustre mood both on and off the field, with Al-Sheeb blocking Romario Ibarra’s curling shot.

Almoez Ali and Hassan Al Haydos were both replaced with 20 minutes remaining, as the team failed to record a single shot on goal.


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