In a nutshell: the hosts dish and don't know it, and are comprehensively crushed by Ecuador.
Qatar's original idea was actually ambitious. In the past three years their lineup is very stable, the Asian Cup winning team after a lot of games, each other should have been quite familiar and tacit understanding, Ali and Afif's impact is worth relying on. As the hosts, and with the characteristics of their own lineup, head coach Felix Sanchez wanted to build on the usual 3-5-2 formation, allowing No. 10 Hassan Haidos to form a trio of forwards frequently to enhance a point of attack.
Unfortunately, the idea was naive and the reality was harsh.
First of all, they have never experienced a real test in the main competition for three years, and the strength of their opponents in warm-up games and friendlies is relatively weak. Even the Qatar League made way for it early on, with no club matches for two months. Even after participating in the Copa America and the American Gold Cup, it is unlikely to face a real life and death moment. This is like mock exams are some easy topics, once the difficulty of the entrance exam is raised, the direct mentality explosion.
Second, they lack a clear understanding of the opponent. Ecuador is a team that is used to switching between 4-4-2 and 4-3-3, with a weakness at the back but extremely hard in the middle and front. In this game, Ecuador's Incapier and Felix Torres actually still had this problem, and many attempts to find the striker with long passes were unsuccessful. But compared with the Qataris, the Ecuadorian players' foot skills looked so superb.
However, watching this game, Qatar's problem was much bigger than Ecuador's, so much so that they were taken by the other side early and always in a passive position.
Ecuador's double-back Mendes and Caicedo covered a wide range and were quick and aggressive, pulling the pace to a height that Qatar had never seen before. Qatar's three defenders were very poor on the ball, with Karim Boudiaf at the back also lacking the ability to organize the ball and losing his position frequently. With the gap created by the frequent premise of Shanghai Dos, Ecuador's counter-attack on the spot was very effective, and Estrada, Valencia and the wingback Plata could go forward to create threats. With the physical advantages of Estrada and Valencia, when Estupinian and Plata formed a breakthrough on the side, the threat of crosses suddenly increased.
In the 3rd minute of the opening match, Ecuador's front field set piece. Although the goal was blown in the end, the physical advantage of the visiting players was reflected to the fullest.
In the 15th minute, the rash forward top of Qatar's back waist and central defender was seized by Valencia to create a point in space. The first shot! The old captain mental quality can be!
In the 30th minute, the highest-priced Brighton midfielder, Kessedo, also caught the opponent's defenders out of position and the rest of the players not following up in time, and drove long in the midfield to disrupt the opponent's formation, so there was a scene of Preciado assisting Valencia's header to break the goal at the back. The small Qatari center back Ravi was obviously targeted by the hungry melon double striker.
Conceding an early goal also put huge psychological pressure on Qatar. Tactical thinking was seriously at odds with the situation on the field, with some players showing impatience, low-level mistakes and frequent fouls.
Ahmed's direct shot from long range was overhead.
Poor form at the back forced second striker Afif to drop back deep to help stabilize the ball at the back. However, the team's original attack was counting on him to use his speed to push the ball forward on the left side, and with him pulling back, Ali, who is not a high center forward himself, was isolated and lost in the middle of Ecuador's iron-waisted defenders.
Qatar's only threatening attack in the first half came from a header from Ali's cross from the side.
As the game progressed into the second half, Ecuador took the initiative to slow down the tempo and lower their stance, with Mendes dropping back between the two centerbacks to form a three-centerback formation, with Estupinian and Preciado playing as wings. This change gave the Qataris some opportunities, but it was built on having plenty of time to build an attack at the back itself. The presence of senior midfielder Muntari had a good effect, as the teammates behind them could choose to play more freely with long passes and make their attacks more direct.
At this point, Qatar's starting tactics were a complete failure. Playing with the South Americans and fighting with the highlanders for their physicality is a fantasy.
In addition, I would like to spit out the local fan culture. The sound of cheering in the host's home stadium was too small, and the long time of silence once they fell behind was a bit strange for fans who are used to watching the World Cup and the Big Five.
Anyway, congratulations to Ecuador for winning all three points!