Portugal's attack sees Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. past Ghana

1 week ago 13

RASS ABOU ABOUD, Qatar -- Cristiano Ronaldo's 5th and astir apt last World Cup began with a triumph aft Portugal bushed Ghana 3-2 astatine Stadium 974 connected Thursday.

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Ronaldo, who officially departed Manchester United connected Tuesday, scored with a second-half penalty. And though Andre Ayew made it 1-1, Portugal took power with 2 goals successful 2 minutes from Joao Felix and Rafael Leao. Osman Bukari came disconnected the seat to marque it 3-2, but Portugal held on, contempt a precocious people erstwhile goalkeeper Diogo Costa astir conceded a bizarre accidental successful the finals 2nd of wounded time.

JUMP TO: Player ratings | Best/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | Post-match quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

Rapid Reaction

1. Portugal attacking endowment sees them through, but determination are issues astatine the back

It's possibly evident that erstwhile you've got attacking players similar Ronaldo, Felix, Leao, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva, you're going to person nary occupation scoring goals. It was fortunate Portugal got 3 against Ghana.

The Black Stars, who scraped done qualifying aft a playoff with Nigeria, don't usually people galore but they inactive got 2 here, archetypal done Ayew and past Bukari. Bukari's precocious header didn't number for overmuch aft Portugal had gone 3-1 up, but it was inactive capable for Ronaldo, astatine that constituent sat connected the substitutes bench, to propulsion his hands up successful despair.

Portugal person the guardant players to lucifer immoderate different squad astatine this World Cup, but they are going to conflict defensively against amended teams than Ghana if they support having lapses successful attraction astatine the back. That was champion summed up successful the last infinitesimal of stoppage clip erstwhile Costa rolled the shot retired and was astir robbed by Inaki Williams.

2. Ronaldo gets his extremity contempt first-half frustration

It looked similar it mightiness beryllium 1 of those frustrating nights for Ronaldo -- the benignant of which he's had plentifulness of astatine Man United this play -- but successful the extremity helium got his extremity to go the archetypal men's subordinate to people astatine 5 World Cups.

His evening started with a clumsy foul aft conscionable 90 seconds, and earlier 15 minutes were connected the clock, helium had fluffed a bully accidental from Otavio's walk due to the fact that of a dense interaction and besides missed with a header astatine the backmost post. He would person been forgiven for reasoning it wasn't his time erstwhile helium had a extremity ruled retired aft 31 minutes for a foul connected Alexander Djiku and past took a dense sound connected his close ankle from Seidu Alidu.

But aft a week of headlines astir his interrogation with Piers Morgan and his messy departure from United, it was emblematic of Ronaldo to find the nett -- archetypal showing a dart of gait to triumph a punishment nether a situation from Mohammed Salisu and past stepping up to smash successful his 118th planetary goal. It's ne'er a atrocious happening for a escaped cause to amusement that helium tin inactive people goals astatine the highest level.

3. Ghana person improved from AFCON nightmare but Portugal beryllium excessively much

Ghana person arrived successful Qatar arsenic the lowest-ranked squad astatine the World Cup, and each they request to bash for this tourney to beryllium deemed a occurrence is amended connected their disastrous Africa Cup of Nations successful January, erstwhile they finished bottommost of their radical with 1 constituent from 3 games and mislaid to Comoros.

They struggled to people goals successful qualifying -- they got 8 successful 8 games -- and it took them a portion to get going here, ending the archetypal fractional without a shot, fto unsocial 1 connected target. Mohammed Kudus of Ajax Amsterdam was lively successful midfield, but they request to make much chances for Williams, who switched allegiance from Spain successful the summer.

Ghana were organised capable to support Portugal's attacking players quiescent for ample spells, but if they're going to sneak retired of Group H, they request to get thing from games against Uruguay and South Korea.

That pair's 0-0 gully earlier connected Thursday keeps Otto Addo's squad successful the speech for a spot successful the knockout rounds, but they volition request to chopped retired the mistakes that allowed Portugal to people 2 goals successful 2 minutes to enactment the crippled to bed. Bukari's header to marque it 3-2 came excessively late, but they volition inactive consciousness disappointed aft Williams came truthful adjacent to pinching a melodramatic equaliser from nether Costa's nose.

Player ratings

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

Best and worst performers

BEST: Bruno Fernandes, Portugal. With the crippled poised astatine 1-1, Fernandes came up with 2 beauteous passes to acceptable up goals for Felix and Leao.

WORST: Seidu Alidu, Ghana. He was fortunate not to beryllium sent disconnected for an evident headbutt connected Felix, having already been booked, and had to beryllium substituted for his ain good.

Highlights and notable moments

How galore NBAers tin Ronaldo outjump? The Portugal skipper is notorious for his fitness, and it's beauteous evident that helium doesn't skip limb day.

Air Ronaldo 😱✈️ pic.twitter.com/GGKGjeDmNP

— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 24, 2022

The infinitesimal erstwhile Ronaldo became the archetypal antheral to people astatine 5 World Cups.


With this goal, helium becomes the archetypal men's subordinate to people successful 5 antithetic FIFA World Cup tournaments 🔥🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/PxWP4Z5z8o

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 24, 2022

After the match: What the players and managers said

Portugal manager Fernando Santos: "I told the players astatine half-time that it was important to enactment focused and summation the pace. We entered the 2nd fractional well, we scored the goal, past I don't cognize what happened. We conceded goals that came retired of nowhere. No 1 tin concede goals that travel retired of nowhere. We woke up again, got backmost into the game, scored 2 goals."

Neves: "It was precise important to commencement with a victory, that was our objective. There are nary casual games, each teams are organised. We won successful a hard and unusual game. We controlled the archetypal fractional and Ghana conscionable defended. Then successful the 2nd fractional with our extremity determination was much unit from Ghana, possibly we should person been much pragmatic. The mode we reacted to the Ghana extremity was crucial. We didn't spell down; we were positive, we reacted good and quickly. It was a deserved triumph contempt the difficulties we faced successful the past stages of the game."

Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

- Ronaldo is the archetypal antheral to people astatine 5 World Cups: 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, and 2022.

- At 37 years and 292 days, Ronaldo is the oldest subordinate to people for Portugal astatine the World Cup. In 2006, astatine 21 years and 132 days, helium became the youngest subordinate to people for Portugal astatine the World Cup with his extremity vs. Iran successful the radical stage.

- Ronaldo has present scored 8 World Cup goals for Portugal, the 2nd astir successful the nation's past down Eusebio's nine.

- Ghana is the 27th antithetic squad that Ronaldo has scored aggregate against successful his planetary career. He besides scored against Ghana successful the 2014 World Cup.

Up next

Portugal: Ronaldo & Co. are backmost successful enactment connected Monday, erstwhile they instrumentality connected Uruguay astatine Lusail Iconic Stadium astatine 2 p.m. ET.

Ghana: The Ghanaians besides play connected Monday, arsenic they question to the Education City Stadium to look disconnected against South Korea astatine 8 a.m. ET.

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