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Enner Valencia Scores Brace for Ecuador in World Cup Opener

Valencia

Ecuador team captain Enner Valencia scored twice in the first half to give Ecuador a 2-0 lead at the break against Qatar in the opening match of the FIFA World Cup at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khol.

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Enter Valencia could have scored a hattrick had his first strike not been ruled out by VAR.

Valencia
Valencia scores the first goal in the 2022 World Cup

Valencia had earlier made it 1-0 in the 14th minute by cooling slotting in a penalty he earned after he was brought down by Al Sheeb after being played on for a goal by Mendez.

He scored his third goal of the match after heading in Angelo Preciado’s pinpoint cross.

Earlier, Valencia had put Ecuador in front inside the first three minutes, but his happiness was cut short as VAR came to Qatar’s rescue. 

Also Read: Fifa President Describes the Western Media Coverage as ‘Hypocritical’

Moises Carideo and Pervis Estupinan, who both play for Brighton in the Premier League, started for La Tri, establishing dominance against a less experienced Qatari midfield.

Playing in the FIFA World Cup for the first time, Felix Sanchez’s Qatar struggled against the South American side.

Valencia
Enner Valencia

Ecuador, ranked 44th in the FIFA rankings is yet to be given a real test as hosts Qatar are ranked 50th going into their maiden World Cup.

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Ecuador now leads Group A with three points ahead of their next fixtures against Senegal and Netherlands ranked 18th and 8th in the world respectively.

Qatar was a must-win for Ecuador as the two remaining teams in Group A are formidable opponents chosen as favourites to sail through the group stage.

It is a group where goal differences may indeed matter as the quadrennial tournament had proven in the past that every game and goal counts in the group stage.

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