Valencia helps Ecuador defeat hosts Qatar in the opener

FIFA World Cup: Hosts Qatar start with a defeat after a spectacular opening ceremony.

Skipper Valencia did it for Ecuador. His brace, including a goal from a penalty, gave the South Americans a dream start in the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Sunday after an impressive and spectacular opening ceremony.

It is the first time that the FIFA World Cup is being held in Middle East Asia. Qatar has become the 18th host of this mega quadrangular event.

It was perhaps for the first time that the hosts lost their opening game by two first half goals. It was the seventh consecutive clean sheet for the Latin Americans.

Valencia was unlucky not to end the day with the first hat-trick of the tournament. The first goal, that came from a header by  Valencia in the third minute, was disallowed following a video referral. Valencia was adjudged offside. Sporting jersey number 13, Valencia was the toast of a strong Ecuadorian support group that has been travelling with the team.

Experienced Valencia did not allow the disappointment of getting his first goal of the 2022 edition of FIFA World Cup upset his rhythm. In the 11th minute, as Valencia was brought down by a diving home team goalie, a penalty came Ecuador’s way. It  saw Valencia dodging the goalkeeper with a neat angular shot in the left corner.

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Though Ecuador enjoyed better exchanges and had more attempts at their opponents’ goal, the game failed to reach the levels expected of the opener. Qatar defended its citadel well in the second half so as not to concede any more goals after conceding an 0-2 lead in the first 32 minutes of the game.

The second goal by Valencia was a gem that saw him deflect a beautiful pass into the  right corner of the net to give Latin Americans maximum three points from the game.

The loss came as a big disappointment for the home crowd that expected a more satisfying performance from its stars.

England will take on Iran and the Netherlands play Senegal on Monday.  The third and final game of the second day will be between England and the USA.

Prabhjot Singh

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