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Ecuador's opening goal was actually offside and VAR was right to cancel it

November 20th 2022, 6:00:11 pm

Ecuador thought they had scored the opening goal of the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Qatar but it was controversially ruled out for offside

Enner Valencia's goal for Ecuador was disallowed for offside

The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off in spectacular fashion at the Al Bayt Stadium in Doha and this is not about the stunning opening ceremony.

The opening game between the host nation, Qatar and Ecuador did not waste time to spark into life with what will probably go on to be the most controversial moment of the entire tournament.

Ecuador took the lead through Enner Valencia's header after just three minutes or so they thought until VAR intervened and centre referee Daniele Orsato ruled the goal out for offside in rather controversial fashion.

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But contrary to popular opinion, that decision was the correct one and Valencia was indeed offside by the letter of the law, albeit by a tiny margin.

The controversial goal seemed okay at first glance and the lack of instant replays from multiple angles and even VAR footage only helped fuel the narrative against Qatar further.

When the replays did eventually come, one could see that Ecuador forward, Michael Estrada had a foot behind both the Qatar goalkeeper and the defender he was contesting the ball with.

That means Estrada was ahead of everyone on the pitch but one Qatar defender by the time he contested for the ball and then eventually set up Valencia who scored.

The offside rule states that a forward should have two players of the opponent team – a goalkeeper and a defender – behind or in line with him when the ball is played to him in the attacking third.

By that definition, Estrada was marginally ahead of both the Qatar defender and the goalkeeper when the VAR offside line was drawn, making it a fair call.

Tunde Young
Tunde is an experienced sports writer/journalist dedicated to promoting Nigerian excellence in sports

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