Qatar disappoints on World Cup debut as Ecuador’s Enner Valencia shines in opening game win
Qatar’s World Cup debut ended in disappointment on Sunday after suffering a 2-0 loss to Ecuador, becoming the first host country to lose their opening game.
The lopsided duo in front of a crowd of over 67,000 fans started early with star striker Enner Valencia scoring a goal just three minutes later, although an offside call would overturn the goal.
Valencia came back a few minutes later to cement Ecuador’s lead with a 16th-minute goal after receiving a penalty following a yellow card for Qatar goalkeeper Saad Alsheeb to stumble.
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He scored his second goal of the game and his fifth consecutive World Cup goal in the 33rd minute, finally sealing Qatar’s doom.
The host nation had few chances, none as threatening as Ecuador’s, with five shots on goal and just 47% possession. Qatar drew four yellow cards – three before half-time – and 15 fouls.
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Qatar has faced immense criticism over its human rights controversies, particularly its stance on same-sex relationships and its treatment of migrant workers. Additionally, fans in attendance on Sunday took aim at recent and unexpected reversal in beer sales in stadiums during the World Cup.
As the first half drew to a close, chants from much of Ecuador’s vocal, yellow-clad fans broke out: « We want beer. »
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Qatar next face Senegal on Friday, hoping to avoid another dire statistic by becoming the only hosts, apart from South Africa, not to make it out of the group stage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.