Ecuador defeats Qatar in Environment Cup opener : NPR


Ecuador’s Enner Valencia celebrates soon after scoring his side’s 2nd purpose throughout the match involving Qatar and Ecuador in Al Khor, Qatar, on Sunday.

Hassan Ammar/AP


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Hassan Ammar/AP

Ecuador’s Enner Valencia celebrates right after scoring his side’s 2nd intention for the duration of the match between Qatar and Ecuador in Al Khor, Qatar, on Sunday.

Hassan Ammar/AP

AL KHOR, Qatar — Qatar’s first ever World Cup match finished in dismay for an overmatched crew and with a place in unwanted soccer heritage.

The controversy-laced event opened Sunday with Qatar finding outplayed and embarrassed in a 2- reduction to Ecuador in front of 67,372 followers at Al Bayt Stadium.

In 92 yrs of soccer’s major function, a host staff experienced hardly ever missing its opening video game.

The initial Environment Cup in the Center East is a prospect for Qatar, a tiny Arab region jutting out into the Persian Gulf, to showcase itself to the broader globe. Its soccer workforce, taking part in at this amount for the initial time by advantage of web hosting the tournament, couldn’t are living up to the minute as Ecuador captain Enner Valencia scored equally objectives in the initial 50 percent.

The match took location immediately after a colorful 30-minute opening ceremony — fronted by Oscar-successful actor Morgan Freeman and attended by strong dignitaries together with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — that promoted inclusivity and mankind residing “underneath one tent.”

For quite a few, that would jar with this Entire world Cup staying hosted by an emirate the place homosexual functions are illegal, one particular that has occur beneath potent criticism for how migrant workers have been taken care of developing stadiums and match infrastructure due to the fact Qatar won the scandal-shrouded vote in 2010 .

The yearslong scrutiny was never ever going to end just for the reason that participate in on the industry ultimately entered the narrative of a match dogged by human rights disputes, still a win for the host nation would have at the very least set a favorable light-weight on Qatar, soccer-wise.

Instead, Qatar’s gamers, new from paying seven months together in a pre-event instruction camp less than Spanish mentor Felix Sanchez, froze in entrance of an expectant group and a disciplined Ecuador workforce that may well just pose a danger to additional high-profile opponents more than the following handful of weeks.

Valencia assumed he had scored in the third minute when he headed in from close array pursuing an acrobatic cross from Felix Torres. Soon after a online video evaluate of about two minutes, Ecuadorian celebrations were slice small when the intention was dominated out for what appeared to be a marginal offside.

Ecuador did consider the direct, nevertheless, in the 16th moment when Valencia was tripped by Saad Alsheeb right after rounding the goalkeeper, who was booked for the problem. Valencia was nonchalant as he trotted up and converted the spot kick into the base corner.

The 33-yr-previous striker added his second in the 33rd by heading in a appropriate-wing cross from Angelo Preciado.

With Qatar’s passes normally going astray and its defensive raggedness continuously exposed, Ecuador had no issue keeping onto its direct as Sanchez stood helplessly in his technical place and the home admirers fell tranquil.

There were a lot of empty seats for a 2nd half that was virtually a problems-limitation physical exercise for Qatar on a single of the biggest evenings in the nation’s record.

Leaders from the Center East and Africa were being current

Camels and Arabian horses lined the entrance to the stadium, a Bedouin tent-motivated location positioned in the fairly isolated surrounds of the rural city of Al Khor, north of Doha.

And the atmospheric, 7-act opening ceremony lived up to its billing, the emphasize remaining when Freeman prolonged one particular yellow-gloved hand to a FIFA Globe Cup ambassador suffering from a exceptional spinal disorder in an picture symbolizing inclusion in a place going through intercontinental criticism more than its human-rights history.

Seeking on from the luxurious seats have been FIFA president Gianni Infantino alongside leaders from the Middle East and Africa. Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, drew a thunderous applause in a brief speech shipped in Arabic from the suite, with Infantino and the monarch’s father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, on either side of him.

“I welcome you and very good luck to all,” the emir explained in his only phrases spoken in English.

Right after this exhibit, Qatar will want extra than just luck to steer clear of becoming a member of South Africa as getting the only host country to are unsuccessful to get out of the team stage at the Environment Cup.

The to start with 50 percent was winding down when a chant came from a massive area of vocal, yellow-clad Ecuadorian lovers: “We want beer.” It was a humorous intervention two days following Qatar decided to ban beer sales at the stadiums throughout the Environment Cup. It was a late improve by the conservative Islamic country the place access to alcohol is strictly restricted. Only alcohol-free Bud Zero was offered at the video game.

In what will go down as just one of the worst shows by a host country to open a event, Qatar experienced five photographs in the match and none of them were being on concentrate on. The crew had only two touches within the opposition penalty region.

Qatar will glimpse to bounce back again from Senegal in Team A on Friday, on the same day Ecuador usually takes on the Netherlands.

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