DOHA: Ecuador’s veteran striker Enner Valencia scored twice that fired the South Americans a winning start against the hosts Qatar in the opening match of the 22nd edition of FIFA World Cup 2022 at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Doha on Sunday, report agencies.
Valencia scored a 16th minute penalty and added a 31st minute header to give the South Americans a commanding 2-0 halftime lead against hosts Qatar in the match.
Estrada latched onto the loose ball and saw his effort blocked on the line, but the referee goes back to point to the spot for the initial foul.
Al Sheeb was in the book for bringing down Valencia in the penalty area and the Qatar keeper got a yellow card.
Valencia fired Ecuador ahead a 1-0 converting the spot kick correctly in the 16th minute (1-0). El Tri had the lead on this occasion as Valencia held his composure to slot his effort into the bottom-right corner. Al Sheeb guessed incorrectly and it allows Ecuador to get off the mark in the World Cup.
Valencia doubled Ecuador’s lead 2-0 with a perfect header into the bottom-left corner in the 31st minute.
Caicedo made a break forward into the Qatar half, but saw his initial throughball blocked. He worked a ball out wide to Preciado on the right flank, who whipped a fine cross into the middle. Estrada failed to make contact, but Valencia placed his header to perfection away from Al Sheeb into the net.
But the goal was disallowed for offside against the forward as he converted from Torres' scuffed overhead kick. It was very controversial as there didn’t appear to be a lot wrong with that.
However, Valencia became not only the first scorer of this World Cup; also he was the first player to score five goals in a row for a South American nation at the World Cups.
Qatar also created some chances but failed to change the scoreline. Almoez Ali missed a golden chance right at the end of the first half.
Almoez missed another chance at the beginning of the second half when Al Haydos fired a cross into the box from the right flank for an unmarked Almoez Ali, but the forward glanced his header wide of the target from six yards in the 50th minute.
Substitute Muntari, who came in the place of Almoez, wasted another chance as he latched on to a ball over the top that Hincapie failed to head clear in the 86th minute. He took on the strike first-time on the half-volley, but sent his effort just over the bar.
Qatari fans began filing out of the Al Bayt Stadium long before the final whistle after a dominant display from the Ecuadorans.