Qatari team felt supported despite loss, hopes to ‘make fans prouder’: Sanchez

Enner Valencia, a striker for the Ecuadorian team, netted the ball in the fourth minute, but was disallowed after a VAR review.

Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez says that his team felt “backed and supported” despite his side losing their  first-ever World Cup match.

The hosts lost 2-0 to Ecuador in the tournament’s opening game, with some fans leaving before the match’s end.

In light of upcoming Group A matches against the Netherlands and Senegal, Sanchez is says he is now concerned with attempting to make Qatar more competitive.

“We felt backed and supported and we hope for the next game, people will feel prouder and keep supporting us to the end of the tournament.”

“The atmosphere was great, people were very much looking forward to this game.”

He added that there were no excuses for the loss from their side, and believed that Ecuador deserved their win.

“We knew [a loss] could happen and the result can sometimes be difficult. We will try to learn from today and I’m completely sure we will make people feel more happy with our performance.”

Other Qatari fans believed that the support could have been better.

“Our fans need to support the team better. The atmosphere wasn’t the best, you can see the difference between our fans and the Ecuadorians. These things really make the difference, I didn’t feel like we played at home,” said one Qatari Twitter user.

“People started leaving at minute 70; really, the World Cup opener and you’re leaving with 20+ minutes to go? That’s not great football heritage it must change,” he added.

Qatar’s players had trouble settling into a rhythm on Sunday despite a VAR call that prevented an early goal from Ecuador’s striker, Enner Valencia. Looking ahead to Senegal and the Netherlands, they will face an uphill battle after the 0–2 defeat.

Held at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, the opening match was refereed by Italy’s Daniele Orsato and assisted by Ciro Carbone and Alessandro Giallatini.

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