Qatar vs Ecuador 0-2: Valencia Runs Riot in World Cup Opener

Enner Valencia run riot at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor as he helped Ecuador dispose of an overly disappointing Qatar side in the World Cup 2022 tournament opener. 

The Fenerbahce striker picked up from where he left off as he had scored Ecuador’s last three goals in a World Cup back in 2014. Tonight, he added two to his personal tally as La Tri cruised to an easy 2-0 victory to get off on the right foot in Group A. 

The home side was an absolute disappointment as they were suffocated by Ecuador’s fast pace and ball circulation. They struggled to put together any meaningful action and missed the most basic passes as both their strikers Ali Almoez and Akram Afif barely saw the ball.  

Mohammed Muntari’s late addition produced their only noteworthy chance, an audacious volley from outside the box that sailed off target. 

Gustavo Alfaro’s Ecuador, on the other hand, were in full control from the get go. They should have been ahead after just five minutes but the VAR disallowed their first winning effort.

The Qatari goalkeeper showed that high ball catches are not his strong point as he missed the ball twice and put Felix Torres to serve Valencia in the middle of the box with a spectacular overhead, prompting the Fenerbahce man disallowed conversion.

It was just a matter of time though as Valencia was soon picked in the box with a brilliant filtering pass, forcing Saad Al-Sheeb to knock him down. The Ecuadorian’ spot kick conversion marked the first goal scored at the 2022 World Cup and his fourth on a world championship stage.  

On 31 minutes, La Tri had their second. Moses Caicedo recovered the ball in Qatar’s final third and served Angelo Preciado, whose cross from the right side drove a spectacular header from Valencia into the bottom right corner of the net.

Qatar gave some signs of life just before the break with a Pedro “Ró-Ró” cross from the right but Ali Almoez failed to connect with the ball.

Those hoping for a second-half change of attitude from the home side were left disappointed as Ecuador didn’t have any trouble switching to power saving mode and preserving their double lead. 

They came close to adding a third one as a Romario Ibarra shot on 55 minutes was saved by Al-Sheeb, then started to slow down the match tempo and save their forces, especially those of their goleador Valencia who left the pitch after suffering a blow to his knee. 

Ecuador showed they can battle with Senegal and Netherlands for a spot in the knockout stage even though tonight’s opposition was not exactly the toughest of tests.

On the other hand, Qatar and their coach Felix Sanchez will need to get back to the drawing board fast as their lack of options and passive attitude were appalling to say the least. 



November 20, 2022 – FIFA World Cup Group A

SCORERS: 16′ Valencia pen., 31′ Valencia 

QATAR (5-3-2): Al-Sheeb; Pedro Miguel, A. Hassan (71′ Al Bayati), H. Ahmed, Hisham, Khoukhi; Hatem, Alhaydos, Boudiaf; Afif; Almoez Ali (71′ Muntari) (Y. Hassan, Barsham, Waad, Salman, Alaaeldin, Assadalla, Mohamad, Muneer, Al Hajri, Madibo, Abdulraheem, Gaber, Mostafa Tarek Meshaal) Coach: Sanchez
ECUADOR (4-4-2):  Galindez; An. Preciado, Torres, Hincapié, Estupinan; Plata, Mendez, Caicedo (91′ Franco), Ibarra (68′ Sarmiento); Valencia (77′ Cifuentes), Estrada (91′ Rodriguez) (Ramirez, Dominguez, Arboleda, Pacho, Gruezo, Preciado, Arreaga, Mena, Palacios Espinoza, Reasco, Porozo) Coach: Alfaro
REFEREE: Mr. Orsato (Italy)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Al-Sheeb, Ali, Afif, Boudiaf (Q), Caicedo, Mendez (E); Added Time: 1st Half 5′, 2nd Half 5′
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