© 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 objective with Joao Mario REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
By Toby Davis
DOHA (Reuters) -Cristiano Ronaldo drew a line beneath a tumultuous match build-up as he wrote his title within the document books to grow to be the primary man to attain in 5 World Cups in a 3-2 victory for Portugal over Ghana on Thursday.
Ronaldo drilled residence a penalty within the sixty fifth minute of the Group H encounter to set his aspect on their means and whereas Andre Ayew equalised for Ghana, Portugal turned on the afterburners with two quick-fire objectives to successfully seal the deal at Stadium 974.
Joao Felix produced a fragile end to provide 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 probably the most convincing for Portugal, and can come as some reduction for Fernando Santos’s aspect, who prime 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 means 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 crew mates in search of him out at each alternative.
For huge swathes of the match, every thing revolved round Ronaldo, who lurked threateningly on the sting of the Ghana field, with nearly 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 usually hovered within the air earlier than glancing his effort extensive.
He then smacked the ball behind the web after 31 minutes solely to grasp the referee had already blown his whistle for a foul.
For Ghana, the youngest squad on the World Cup, their early ambitions not often stretched past the midway line because the lowest-ranked aspect within the match set about protecting nearly everybody behind the ball always within the first half.
A lot of the motion was condensed into a comparatively quick interval after the sixtieth minute with Portugal taking the lead when awarded a comfortable 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.
The whole Portugal crew raced down the touchline to pile on prime of the 37-year-old, who surpassed Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose as the one participant to search out the web in 5 separate males’s World Cups.
It’s the tenth consecutive main match wherein Ronaldo has discovered the web though Ghana coach Otto Addo was not within the temper to be charitable.
“It was the flawed choice… It was truly a foul towards us,” he stated of the penalty award.
“If any person scores a objective, congratulations. However this was a present. A particular present from the referee.”
Because it was, his Ghana aspect fired again shortly when Mohammed Kudus’s cross bobbled its means by a defender’s legs to Ayew who tapped residence.
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 objective 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 pressure on the finish, nevertheless, as Ghana pulled one other objective 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 objective.
There was to be no fairytale ending for the Ghanaians although and the night time belonged to Ronaldo.