Valencia fires Ecuador to 2-0 win over Qatar in World Cup opener

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-11-21 06:35
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Ecuador's Enner Valencia scores their second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 opening game against the host Qatar at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar, November 20, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

AL KHOR - Enner Valencia scored two first-half goals as Ecuador beat hosts Qatar 2-0 in the opening match of the FIFA World Cup on Sunday.

The Fenerbahce forward converted a penalty before powering home a header to give Gustavo Alfaro's side a perfect start in Group A.

Despite having 47 percent of possession, the hosts didn't manage a single shot on target while Ecuador had three.

The result marked the first time that a host team has lost the opening game of the World Cup.

The partisan crowd was sent into stunned silence when Ecuador appeared to take the lead in the fifth minute at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, around 50 kilometers north of Qatari capital Doha.

Valencia powered a header into the back of the net following Felix Torres' overhead kick, but the goal was disallowed after the former West Ham and Everton forward was ruled offside by the video assistant referee.

Valencia did not have to wait long for his next chance. The 33-year-old was awarded a penalty in the 15th minute when he was tripped by goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb, having been played through on goal by Sebastian Mendez.

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