Home FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar 0-2 Ecuador: Enner Valencia double downs lacklustre hosts in World Cup...

Qatar 0-2 Ecuador: Enner Valencia double downs lacklustre hosts in World Cup 2022 opener

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There was no dream first World Cup match Qatar as captain Enner Valencia inspired Ecuador to a comfortable Group A victory.

Enner Valencia scored twice as Ecuador spoiled the party by beating hosts Qatar 2-0 in the first game of the World Cup.

Valencia had an early goal controversially disallowed for offside at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday, but Qatar were unable to heed the warning.

The clinical captain became Ecuador’s World Cup leading scorer with four goals when he opened the scoring with a penalty and struck again with a first-half bullet.

Qatar were out of their depth in their first ever World Cup match, failing to register a shot on target as Ecuador made an encouraging start in Group A.

Valencia looked to have given La Tri a third-minute header after goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb slapped in a free-kick, but eyebrows were raised when Michael Estrada was ruled marginally offside following a VAR review.

The striker was not to be denied 13 minutes later, coolly sending Al Sheeb the wrong way from the spot after being brought down by the wobbly keeper.

Valencia again exploited frailties in Qatar’s defense just after the half-hour mark, rising unmarked to meet Angelo Preciado’s whipped cross from the right with a brilliant header that found the bottom left corner.

Qatar posed no threat but Almoez Ali somehow nodded close on the stroke of half-time.

Valencia required treatment for a knee injury at the end of the first half but were allowed to continue and Ecuador continued to dominate after the break, Al Sheeb palming away Romario Ibarra’s strike.

Qatar were short of ideas and Mohammed Muntari fired over when a rare chance came late on as Ecuador eased to victory, although there were concerns when Valencia was withdrawn with 15 minutes remaining, appearing to still be troubled by knee problems.

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