Thousands of Qatari fans appeared to leave at half-time in the World Cup opener, with their side already trailing 2-0 against Ecuador.
Host country Qatar opened the 2022 edition of the tournament on Sunday (November 20) with a Group A match against Ecuador, who were controversially denied an early goal due to offside. but took a 2-0 lead at the break – and held it until full time. .
Ecuador captain Enner Valencia scored the first disallowed goal before netting from the penalty spot in the 16th minute and then a header in the 31st minute.
Thousands of Qatari fans then left Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor at half-time, with their seats left empty long after the second half had started.
With 10 minutes to go, the stadium announcer said the attendance for the game was 67,372 – referring to the number of fans who would be present at kick-off.
The Qatar World Cup – the first-ever winter edition of the tournament – has already faced widespread criticism due to human rights issues, such as thousands of reported migrant worker deaths and the attitudes and laws of the State concerning homosexuality.
Qatar occupy Group A, as is traditional for a World Cup host country, and are joined in the pool by Ecuador, the Netherlands and Senegal.
Qatar will then take to the pitch on Friday, November 25, when they take on Senegal at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha.
The hosts then complete their group stage campaign against the Netherlands on Tuesday, November 29, with that game taking place at the Al Bayt Stadium, where Qatar took on Ecuador.