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20th Nov 2022

Thousands of Qatar fans leave stadium at half-time of World Cup opener

Callum Boyle

Pictures of empty seats went viral

Thousands of Qatar supporters appeared to leave the stadium at half time during their World Cup opener against Ecuador on Sunday.

Qatar’s first-ever appearance at a World Cup finals ended in defeat as they were comfortably beaten 2-0 by the South American nation.

A first-half brace from Enner Valencia condemned them to defeat after the former West Ham striker had a goal controversially ruled out for offside less than five minutes into the game.

With their side two goals down going into the break it emerged that thousands of fans left the Al Bayt stadium during the interval and didn’t return for the second half.

Inside the ground, the stadium announcer confirmed that the total attendance was 67,372, but there was far less than that inside come the full time whistle.

Defeat for the Gulf State means they are the first host nation to ever lose the opening game of a World Cup.

The tournament is the first time a World Cup has ever been hosted during the winter European months and the build up to the competition has been marred by the country’s appalling human rights record which includes the treatment of migrant workers and a ban on same-sex relationships.

Qatar now face a battle to get out of Group A and still have to face The Netherlands and Senegal in their remaining fixtures.

Their next game is against Senegal, who will be without Sadio Mané after he withdrew through injury, on Thursday November 25 at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha.

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