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Ecuador’s Valencia hits brace as Qatar set unwanted World Cup record

Qatar became the first hosts or co-hosts in history to lose their opening game at the World Cup after a 2-0 defeat to Ecuador tonight in Doha.

After a colourful opening ceremony that was headlined by the legendary American actor Morgan Freeman, the hosts were brought back down to earth by a far superior Ecuador side.

Veteran striker Enner Valecia scored both goals and was denied a hat-trick by the Video Assistant Referee as the South Americans cruised to victory in the Group A clash.

The 33-year-old Fenerbahce star thought he had opened the scoring just three minutes into the game when he headed home from close range.

The goal was however chalked off after VAR review discovered one of the active Ecuadorian players was offside in the build-up.

It did not take long for Valencia to score a legitimate goal though. He was brought down by the shaky goalkeeper
Saad Abdullah Al Sheeb in the box after a flowing move and a spot kick was awarded.

The Ecuador captain made no mistake from 12 yards out to give his side a 16th minute lead.

This is the first World Cup in which the opening goal was scored via a penalty kick.

Ecuador were totally dominant against the World Cup first-timers and they doubled their lead in the 31st minute.

Valencia headed home from inside the Qatar box after a pin-point cross from Angelo Preciado to give Ecuador a healthy advantage into half-time.

This is Valencia’s second career multi-goal game at a World Cup, with his first coming against Honduras in 2014.
No other Ecuadorian has a multi-goal game at the World Cup.

Qatar were timid and uncoordinated in the first half but improved after the break as Ecuador took their feet off the pedal.

Still, the hosts lacked quality and did not trouble the South Americans, who eased to the first three points of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

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