FIFA World Cup 2022: Ecuador missed a chance of scoring a goal in the first five minutes of the match after their skipper Enner Valencia was found off-side following a VAR check.
FIFA WC 2022: Qatar survive massive scare after VAR check robs Ecuador of first goal. Courtesy: AP
By Sabyasachi Chowdhury: Ecuador had every chance of taking a 1-0 lead in their opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 against Qatar on Sunday, November 20 at the Al Bayt Stadium.
However, the goal was denied, much to their agony. Goalkeeper Saad Alsheeb came a long way to stopping a free-kick from Felix Torres, but he couldn’t quite succeed. Enner Valencia, the Ecuador skipper, managed a brilliant header and seemed to have scored a goal.
The Ecuador players celebrated in ecstasy inside the first four minutes of the match. However, the goal was checked for an off-side by a Video Assistant Referee (VAR). Replays showed that Valencia was off-side when the free kick took place.
It was a close call, but in the end, Qatar would have heaved a sigh of relief. However, soon after, the Ecuador skipper made amends as he gave his team a crucial 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Alsheeb, the Qatar goalkeeper, had the rub of the green going his way earlier. However, luck didn’t favour him for long. He tried to stop Valencia from scoring a goal, but instead ended up earning a Yellow Card.
To make things work, Ecuador earned a penalty. Valencia waited for the goalkeeper to dive before scoring. He hit the ball into the bottom-right corner. This time around, luck favoured Valencia as Qatar erupted in joy and jubilation.
Soon after, Valencia gave Ecuador a 2-0 lead as Qatar kept looking absolutely helpless. It’s pertinent to note that no team has ever lost an opening match of the FIFA World Cup.