Mon, 05 Dec 2022

Enner Valencia scored twice on Sunday night to lead Ecuador to an opening round win over hosts Qatar at the 2022 World Cup.

After having a goal ruled out for offside in the third minute at the Al Bayt Stadium, the 33-year-old struck from the penalty spot 13 minutes later to confirm his side's early dominance.

On the half hour mark, the Ecuador skipper rose to flash a header past the Qatar goalkeeper Saad Abdullah Al Sheeb and increase the advantage.

The double blow sucked the life out of Qatar who despite the promptings of skipper Hassan Al Haydos failed to muster a threat.

Renown

"I have to give the team credit for their attitude, commitment and the way they kept going," said Ecuador boss Gustavo Alfaro.

"Especially after we suffered that setback at the start of the game with the disallowed goal.

"We won convincingly. I hope it's the start of something big, which is what we wanted."

The defeat leaves Qatar as the first World Cup hosts to lose their opening game of the tournament. And the statistics from the encounter will make grim reading for boss Felix Sanchez.

Qatar had five shots in the match and none of them were on target. Moreover, his players mustered only two touches inside the Ecuador penalty area.

"We have a lot of room for improvement," said Sanchez. "No excuses, we started badly ... nerves and responsibility have played a trick on us."

The hosts will seek redemption when they take on the African champions Senegal on 25 November at the Al Thumama Stadium before finishing off their Group A campaign against the Netherlands on 29 November at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Originally published on RFI

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