Qatar goalkeeper delivers ‘Sunday League’ display as ‘awful’ hosts make unwanted history and lose to Ecuador in 2022 World Cup opener with Enner Valencia at the double

    Host nation Qatar suffered a miserable start to the 2022 World Cup as Ecuador cruised to a 2-0 victory in the opening match of the tournament.

    The Middle Eastern minnows were branded ‘awful’ during an unimpressive performance which saw goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb deliver a ‘Sunday League’ display.

    Qatar found themselves exposed on the biggest stage


    Qatar found themselves exposed on the biggest stage

    Ecuador were inspired by captain Enner Valencia, who struck twice within 30 minutes and had another ruled out by VAR.

    This was Qatar’s first-ever World Cup match and it showed as Ecuador dominated the remaining 60 minutes to seal a comfortable victory.

    Speaking on commentary for talkSPORT, ex-Premier League striker Dean Ashton said: “Qatar have not offered anything, I think physically they’re struggling against Ecuador.

    “Their forwards aren’t strong enough to hold up the ball. Qatar must be nervous, there’s a lot of expectation with being hosts.

    “They’ve barely put two or three passes together, it’s all a bit panicky from them.”

    He added: “I gave Qatar time for nerves but now I think they have just been really awful.”

    Goalkeeper Al-Sheeb did not cover himself in glory


    Goalkeeper Al-Sheeb did not cover himself in glory

    With less than five minutes on the clock, captain Valencia thought he gave the South Americans an early lead after some questionable defending by Qatar – and even more alarming goalkeeping by Al-Sheeb.

    However, VAR intervened to save Qatar’s blushes, as an Ecuador player’s knee was marginally offside.

    The decision initially caused confusion as the player was not totally visible to TV cameras and the goalkeeper was acting as the second-last defender.

    It did not matter much, in the end, as Valencia put Ecuador in front moments later.

    Valencia was the hero for Ecuador


    Valencia was the hero for Ecuador

    The former Premier League forward was taken down by Al-Sheeb inside the box and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to convert the resulting penalty inside 15 minutes.

    Reacting on talkSPORT at half-time, presenter Adrian Durham said: “That Qatar keeper, absolute Sunday league, isn’t he?”

    Valencia became Ecuador’s highest-ever World Cup goalscorer – and he wasn’t done yet.

    The 33-year-old doubled his country’s lead with an outrageous header on 30 minutes to give Ecuador the first three points of the 2022 World Cup.

    Qatar, meanwhile, make unwanted history by becoming the first host nation to suffer defeat in their opening game.

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