Ecuador beat Qatar in the opening World Cup match

Ecuador's Enner Valencia, centre bottom, scores his side's second goal during the World Cup group A soccer match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Qatar’s first ever World Cup match ended in dismay for an overmatched team and with a place in unwanted soccer history.

The controversy-laced tournament opened Sunday with Qatar getting outplayed and embarrassed in a 2-0 loss to Ecuador in front of 67,372 fans at Al Bayt Stadium.

In 92 years of soccer’s biggest event, a host team had never lost its opening game.

The first World Cup in the Middle East is a chance for Qatar, a tiny Arab country jutting out into the Persian Gulf, to showcase itself to the wider world. Its soccer team, playing at this level for the first time by virtue of hosting the tournament, couldn’t live up to the moment as Ecuador captain Enner Valencia scored both goals in the first half.

The match took place after a colorful 30-minute opening ceremony — fronted by Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman and attended by powerful dignitaries including Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — that promoted inclusivity and mankind living “under one tent.”

The mascot La'eeb is pictured at the opening ceremony prior he World Cup, group A soccer match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

For many, that would jar with this World Cup being hosting by an emirate where homosexual acts are illegal, one that has come under strong criticism for how migrant workers have been treated building stadiums and tournament infrastructure since Qatar won the scandal-shrouded vote in 2010.

Valencia scores 1st World Cup goal for Ecuador against Qatar

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani waves next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino prior to the opening World Cup opening match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor , Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

 Enner Valencia scored the first goal of the World Cup, converting a penalty in the 16th minute to put Ecuador ahead of host nation Qatar 1-0 on Sunday.

The Ecuador captain, who earned the spot kick himself after being tripped by goalkeeper Saad Alsheeb, had already celebrated scoring a goal inside three minutes.

But following a two-minute video review, it was ruled out for offside.

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