© Reuters. Soccer Soccer – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – Group H – Portugal v Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha, Qatar – November 24, 2022 Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first purpose with Joao Mario REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
By Toby Davis
DOHA (Reuters) -Cristiano Ronaldo drew a line below a tumultuous match build-up as he wrote his identify within the document books to develop into the primary man to attain in 5 World Cups in a 3-2 victory for Portugal over Ghana on Thursday.
Ronaldo drilled dwelling a penalty within the sixty fifth minute of the Group H encounter to set his aspect on their manner and whereas Andre Ayew equalised for Ghana, Portugal turned on the afterburners with two quick-fire targets to successfully seal the deal at Stadium 974.
Joao Felix produced a fragile end to present them the lead and Rafael Leao added a 3rd at hand Portugal their first win within the opening match of the World Cup since 2006, even when Osman Bukari pulled one other one again for Ghana late on.
The win was not essentially the most convincing for Portugal, and can come as some reduction for Fernando Santos’s aspect, who high the group with three factors and subsequent face Uruguay on Monday, when Ghana play South Korea.
For all Portugal’s enterprising attacking play and the goalscoring performances of Felix and Leao, it was Ronaldo who as soon as once more confirmed his unparalleled capability to attract the limelight.
“I believe Cristiano is a phenomenon, a legend… in 50 years’ time, we are going to nonetheless be speaking about him,” Santos stated.
The bitter finish to Ronaldo’s second spell at Manchester United had dominated the build-up to the match in a lot the identical manner the ahead appears to dominate the way in which Portugal play.
Towards Ghana, Ronaldo appeared to exert a planetary gravitational pull on the ball, with staff mates looking for him out at each alternative.
For huge swathes of the match, every part revolved round Ronaldo, who lurked threateningly on the sting of the Ghana field, with virtually all his aspect’s attacking strikes ending up at his toes.
He had two early probabilities, a one-on-one when a heavy contact let him down, and a header the place he sometimes hovered within the air earlier than glancing his effort broad.
He then smacked the ball behind the web after 31 minutes solely to understand the referee had already blown his whistle for a foul.
For Ghana, the youngest squad on the World Cup, their early ambitions hardly ever stretched past the midway line because the lowest-ranked aspect within the match set about conserving virtually everybody behind the ball always within the first half.
Many of the motion was condensed into a comparatively brief interval after the sixtieth minute with Portugal taking the lead when awarded a tender penalty after Ronaldo went down following minimal shoulder-to-shoulder contact with Mohammed Salisu.
Ronaldo closed his eyes as he waited to start his run up, stuttered and smashed the ball into the web to the keeper’s proper.
Your entire Portugal staff raced down the touchline to pile on high of the 37-year-old, who surpassed Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose as the one participant to seek out the web in 5 separate males’s World Cups.
It’s the tenth consecutive main match through which Ronaldo has discovered the web though Ghana coach Otto Addo was not within the temper to be charitable.
“It was the unsuitable determination… It was truly a foul in opposition to us,” he stated of the penalty award.
“If someone scores a purpose, congratulations. However this was a present. A particular reward from the referee.”
Because it was, his Ghana aspect fired again shortly when Mohammed Kudus’s cross bobbled its manner by way of a defender’s legs to Ayew who tapped dwelling.
Portugal, nevertheless, then revved into gear with Felix latching onto a Bruno Fernandes throughball and lifting his end nonchalantly over the keeper.
Fernandes was the architect of their third purpose too, taking part in one other very good throughball for substitute Leao to slip his end throughout the keeper and into the underside nook.
There was stress on the finish, nevertheless, as Ghana pulled one other purpose again with Osman Bukari, showing unmarked within the field, heading in a cross from the left within the 89th minute, giving a sliver of hope to Ghana’s followers behind that purpose.
There was to be no fairytale ending for the Ghanaians although and the night time belonged to Ronaldo.