11/30/2022
Ecuador beat Qatar 2-0 in the opening match of Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup as the quadrennial extravaganza got off to a rousing start at the Al Bayt Stadium.

The tiny Muslim Gulf nation is staking its reputation on delivering a smooth tournament and has denied accusations of abuse of workers and discrimination.

And the game’s global governing body hopes the spotlight will now turn to action on the pitch.

Ecuador’s all-time top scorer Enner Valencia , nicknamed Superman at home, scored an early penalty and added a well-taken 31st-minute header to give the South Americans a commanding first-half lead as the Qataris looked overcome by the enormity of the occasion at the 60,000-seater stadium.

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It could have been even worse for the hosts in front of a 67,372 crowd at the tent-shaped Al Bayt stadium had Valencia, 33, not had a third minute header disallowed for a marginal offside after goalkeeper Saad Alsheeb had flapped at the ball.

It was Alsheeb who later tripped Valencia when he was through on goal and then dived the wrong way as the Ecuadorean coolly dispatched the resulting penalty in the 16th minute.

For his second, Valencia was unmarked but still showed great technique to stoop and take Angelo Preciado’s cross almost from behind him to head past Alsheeb again.

That goal killed the Group A game as a contest and the second half was played at a slow pace, with many Qataris leaving before the end as Ecuador’s fans chanted “Ole!”

Despite an enviously long time to bond and train together, including summer camps in Europe, Qatar looked largely toothless. 2019 AFC Asian Cup hero Almoez Ali had their best chance at the end of the first half, heading wide but then judged offside.

Mohammed Muntari also fired over in the dying minutes.

Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup: Expect Amazing!

The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, which kicked off on Sunday had many firsts to its credit including being the first to held at the Middle East and the entire Arab world.

Al Annabi next take on Senegal at the Al Thumama Stadium on Friday (November 25) before winding up their group engagements on November 29 with the game against the Netherlands at Al Bayt Stadium again.