Portugal's assault sees Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. previous Ghana


RASS ABOU ABOUD, Qatar — Cristiano Ronaldo‘s fifth and doubtless remaining World Cup started with a win after Portugal beat Ghana 3-2 at Stadium 974 on Thursday.

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Ronaldo, who formally departed Manchester United on Tuesday, scored with a second-half penalty. And though Andre Ayew made it 1-1, Portugal took management with two objectives in two minutes from Joao Felix and Rafael Leao. Osman Bukari got here off the bench to make it 3-2, however Portugal held on, regardless of a late rating when goalkeeper Diogo Costa practically conceded a weird likelihood within the finals second of harm time.

JUMP TO: Participant rankings | Finest/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | Submit-match quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

Fast Response

1. Portugal attacking expertise sees them by means of, however there are points on the again

It is maybe apparent that while you’ve received attacking gamers like Ronaldo, Felix, Leao, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva, you are going to don’t have any downside scoring objectives. It was fortunate Portugal received three in opposition to Ghana.

The Black Stars, who scraped by means of qualifying after a playoff with Nigeria, do not normally rating many however they nonetheless received two right here, first by means of Ayew after which Bukari. Bukari’s late header did not rely for a lot after Portugal had gone 3-1 up, nevertheless it was nonetheless sufficient for Ronaldo, at that time sat on the substitutes bench, to throw his palms up in despair.

Portugal have the ahead gamers to match some other workforce at this World Cup, however they’ll battle defensively in opposition to higher groups than Ghana in the event that they maintain having lapses in focus on the again. That was greatest summed up within the remaining minute of stoppage time when Costa rolled the ball out and was virtually robbed by Inaki Williams.

2. Ronaldo will get his purpose regardless of first-half frustration

It regarded prefer it may be a type of irritating nights for Ronaldo — the kind of which he is had loads of at Man United this season — however ultimately he received his purpose to develop into the primary males’s participant to attain at 5 World Cups.

His night began with a slipshod foul after simply 90 seconds, and earlier than quarter-hour have been on the clock, he had fluffed likelihood from Otavio’s cross due to a heavy contact and in addition missed with a header on the again put up. He would have been forgiven for pondering it wasn’t his day when he had a purpose dominated out after 31 minutes for a foul on Alexander Djiku after which took a heavy knock on his proper ankle from Seidu Alidu.

However after per week of headlines about his interview with Piers Morgan and his messy departure from United, it was typical of Ronaldo to search out the web — first displaying a dart of tempo to win a penalty beneath a problem from Mohammed Salisu after which stepping as much as smash in his 118th worldwide purpose. It is by no means a foul factor for a free agent to indicate that he can nonetheless rating objectives on the highest degree.

3. Ghana have improved from AFCON nightmare however Portugal show an excessive amount of

Ghana have arrived in Qatar because the lowest-ranked workforce on the World Cup, and all they should do for this match to be deemed a hit is enhance on their disastrous Africa Cup of Nations in January, after they completed backside of their group with one level from three video games and misplaced to Comoros.

They struggled to attain objectives in qualifying — they received eight in eight video games — and it took them some time to get going right here, ending the primary half with no shot, not to mention one heading in the right direction. Mohammed Kudus of Ajax Amsterdam was full of life in midfield, however they should create extra possibilities for Williams, who switched allegiance from Spain in the summertime.

Ghana have been organised sufficient to maintain Portugal’s attacking gamers quiet for giant spells, but when they’ll sneak out of Group H, they should get one thing from video games in opposition to Uruguay and South Korea.

That pair’s 0-0 draw earlier on Thursday retains Otto Addo’s workforce within the dialog for a spot within the knockout rounds, however they might want to lower out the errors that allowed Portugal to attain two objectives in two minutes to place the sport to mattress. Bukari’s header to make it 3-2 got here too late, however they’ll nonetheless really feel disenchanted after Williams got here so near pinching a dramatic equaliser from beneath Costa’s nostril.

Participant rankings

Portugal: Diogo Costa 5, Joao Cancelo 6, Raphael Guerreiro 6, Ruben Dias 6, Danilo Pereira 6, Ruben Neves 6, Bernardo Silva 7, Otavio 6, Bruno Fernandes 8, Joao Felix 7, Cristiano Ronaldo 7

Subs: William Carvalho 6, Rafael Leao 7, Joao Palhinha 6, Goncalo Ramos 6, Joao Mario 6

Ghana: Lawrence Ati Zigi 6, Mohammed Salisu 5, Daniel Amartey 6, Alexander Djiku 5, Alidu Seidu 5, Abdul Baba Rahman 6, Thomas Partey 6, Salis Abdul Samed 6, Mohammed Kudus 7, Andre Ayew 6, Inaki Williams 6

Subs: Tariq Lamptey 6, Osman Bukari 7, Jordan Ayew 6, Antoine Semenyo 6, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh 6

Finest and worst performers

BEST: Bruno Fernandes, Portugal. With the sport poised at 1-1, Fernandes got here up with two lovely passes to arrange objectives for Felix and Leao.

WORST: Seidu Alidu, Ghana. He was fortunate to not be despatched off for an obvious headbutt on Felix, having already been booked, and needed to be substituted for his personal good.

Highlights and notable moments

What number of NBAers can Ronaldo outjump? The Portugal captain is infamous for his health, and it is fairly apparent that he would not skip leg day.

The second when Ronaldo grew to become the primary man to attain at 5 World Cups.

After the match: What the gamers and managers mentioned

Portugal supervisor Fernando Santos: “I told the players at half-time that it was important to stay focused and increase the pace. We entered the second half well, we scored the goal, then I don’t know what happened. We conceded goals that came out of nowhere. No one can concede goals that come out of nowhere. We woke up again, got back into the game, scored two goals.”

Neves: “It was very important to start with a victory, that was our objective. There are no easy games, all teams are organised. We won in a difficult and strange game. We controlled the first half and Ghana just defended. Then in the second half with our goal there was more pressure from Ghana, maybe we should have been more pragmatic. The way we reacted to the Ghana goal was crucial. We didn’t go down; we were positive, we reacted well and quickly. It was a deserved victory despite the difficulties we faced in the last stages of the game.”

Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Info)

– Ronaldo is the primary man to attain at 5 World Cups: 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, and 2022.

– At 37 years and 292 days, Ronaldo is the oldest participant to attain for Portugal on the World Cup. In 2006, at 21 years and 132 days, he grew to become the youngest participant to attain for Portugal on the World Cup together with his purpose vs. Iran within the group stage.

– Ronaldo has now scored eight World Cup objectives for Portugal, the second most within the nation’s historical past behind Eusebio’s 9.

– Ghana is the twenty seventh completely different workforce that Ronaldo has scored a number of in opposition to in his worldwide profession. He additionally scored in opposition to Ghana within the 2014 World Cup.

Up subsequent

Portugal: Ronaldo & Co. are again in motion on Monday, after they tackle Uruguay at Lusail Iconic Stadium at 2 p.m. ET.

Ghana: The Ghanaians additionally play on Monday, as they journey to the Training Metropolis Stadium to face off in opposition to South Korea at 8 a.m. ET.

Supply hyperlink – espnfc.com

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