Qatar 2022: Ecuador dominate host nation in opener

ECUADOR opened the curtains of the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a convincing two-nil victory over host, Qatar.

Michael Estrada is offside in the build-up to Enner Valencia’s goal (FIFA)

The South American side took control of early proceedings and seemed to grab an early goal after Enner Valencia headed in an acrobatic pass from a teammate into the net. However, the goal was ruled out for offside after the semi-automated offside technology caught an infraction.

Qatar struggled to string passes together, leaving massive gaps in their midfield. Unsurprisingly, Ecuador maximized the opportunity. In the 15th minute, Mendes threaded a pass behind the backline, but Qatar’s goalkeeper, Saad Al Sheeb, brought down Valencia in the box. The striker took the penalty, sending Al Sheeb the wrong way to open the score line.


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    Valencia was menacing for Qatar’s backline, reliably linking up play and providing a threat in behind. In the 31st minute, he grabbed his second of the night after latching his head unto a whipped cross, taking his all-time World Cup tally to five goals. The Turkey-based striker eventually came off in the second half; he had picked up a knock late in the first half.

    After the halftime break, Qatar delivered a more cohesive display but could not grab a goal for their efforts. The game was a rude awakening for the host nation, and their fans were visibly disappointed at the end of the game. Their manager, Felix Sanchez, will hope for more positive displays in the coming games after his side became the first-ever host nation to lose their opener.

    The result takes Ecuador to the top of the group and put pressure on the Netherlands and Senegal, who face off on Monday.

    Joel currently monitors and writes stories affecting the local political and sports atmosphere. In his spare time, he strives to accentuate data privacy legislation on the continent.

    Additionally, Joel regularly curates tactical analyses on football–check his Twitter page (@crunchpick) for more.

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