- Qatar became the first host nation to lose a World Cup opener when they were outclassed 2-0 by Ecuador on Sunday in their first ever match at this level.
The Qataris suffered their first-ever World Cup defeat against Ecuador (0-2) on Sunday at the Al-Bayt Stadium in the opening match of the 22nd edition.
The Emirates were dominated in all areas of the game and were punished by a brace from Enner Valencia, making them the first host nation to lose the opening match…
Qatar’s head under water at the start
The home side were almost caught out when Fenerbahce’s striker headed in from a lacklustre defence after Al-Sheeb had failed to clear. But VAR came to Al Annabi’s rescue when Estrada was given a questionable offside penalty at the start of the action. It was a decision that was sure to be talked about… Despite the reprieve, Felix Sanchez Bas’s men were unable to get into their game. Valencia, who was thrown into the back of the defence, obtained and logically converted a penalty to score the first goal of this World Cup (0-1, 16th)!
Valencia sees double
The Qatari side’s opening goal did not provoke any revolt and, after another Estrada scare, Valencia made it 2-0 with a header (0-2, 31′). The end of the first half was more chaotic, with two bad blows to the double scorer, who gritted his teeth and held his position. It was not until the final seconds of the first half that Qatar finally had a great chance, but Ali failed to get the ball down from close range.
Quiet as the Tri
La Tri took their foot off the pedal after the break and, with the home side unable to raise their game, the tempo dropped. Gustavo Alfaro’s side did manage to threaten, but Al-Sheeb kept a firm grip on Ibarra before getting ahead of Plata. The Qatari side dared to try a little harder at the end, as Muntari’s dangerous effort was a real eye-catcher. Far too late. The host nation will now face Senegal on Friday, who take on the Netherlands in their other Group A match on Monday.
Match rating: 4.5/10
The first half of the game was a pleasant affair, although it was one-sided in favour of the Tri, whose waves werehed over the Qatari camp. The second half, on the other hand, proved to be much duller and more closed, with the hosts unable to raise their level to upset a managed opponent.
- -Valencia is thrown in at the back of the defence and is knocked off balance in the box by Al-Sheeb’s hand. Penalty! The striker takes justice into his own hands by catching the keeper off guard (0-1, 16′).
- Valencia’s header from the far post was just wide of the post, but the striker did well to keep it out (0-2, 31′), while Preciado’s cross from the right side of the box was just wide of the post.
Man of the match: Enner Valencia (8/10)
The Ecuadorian striker, who has been in fine form with Fenerbahce (scoring 15 goals this season), followed up his brace with an unpressurised double, first from a penalty he won himself and then with a superb downward header. If it wasn’t for the contentious VAR decision at the start of the game, it would have been a hat-trick for him, who looked like he could do whatever he wanted in the opposition box. Despite receiving two nasty knocks before the break, the South American warrior showed his mettle by holding his ground for another 30 minutes.