FIFA World Cup 2022: Portugal, led by veteran player Cristiano Ronaldo, scored three goals in 15 minutes to overcome a slow start to beat Ghana 3-2 in their FIFA World Cup Group H match here on Thursday. Ronaldo, who holds many records in football, also became the first player in the world to score goals in five different World Cups.
Captain Ronaldo gave the world number 9 team the lead in the 65th minute before Jaao Felix (78th) and Rafael Liao (80th) also scored for Portugal at the Stadium 974. Captain Andre Ayew (73rd minute) and Usman Bukhari (89th minute) scored for Ghana. Portugal’s margin of victory against world number 61 Ghana could have been bigger but the trio of Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes let down for most of the opening hour of the match.
There was also a lack of finishing from the players of Portugal. The Portuguese forwards failed to take advantage of this, despite Ghana’s players making a lot of mistakes in the match. Portugal started the match well and made some good moves in the first 10 minutes but their forwards failed to break through the Ghanaian defence.
Ronaldo had a golden chance to score in the 10th minute but Ghanaian goalkeeper Lawrence Atzighi was quick to dislodge the ball before he could shoot. Ronaldo got another chance three minutes later but this time too he failed to put the ball inside the goal with a header.
In the first half, however, most of the play was played in Ghana’s half. Under constant pressure, the Ghanaian defense seemed to be slowly crumbling. Ronaldo put the ball in the goal in the 31st minute but before that he fouled the opposing player and the referee rejected the goal.
Portugal made another move in the 42nd minute. This time the pass from the top of Ronaldo reached Rafael Guerrero. Guerrero takes a shot but it hits Ronaldo. Ronaldo also failed to score by taking possession of the ball.
In the first half, Portugal had 70 per cent possession of the ball and created some good chances during this period, but a lack of finishing kept them from taking the lead.
In the second half too, the Ghanaian defense continued to trouble the Portuguese forwards. Ronaldo had another good chance to score in the 53rd minute of the match. He was leading the way with the ball in his possession but failed to beat the Ghanaian goalkeeper.
Ghana made a counterattacking move in the very next minute. Alidu Saidu ran up to the ball and fired a left-footed shot but the ball went wide of Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa’s left.
Ronaldo was fouled inside the penalty box in the 62nd minute by Mohamed Salisu and the referee awarded a penalty to Portugal. Ronaldo then put Portugal ahead 1–0 by heading the ball in from the right side of Atzigi.
Ghana then intensified the attacks. Mohammed Qudus’s flamboyant shot in the 72nd minute was saved by the Portuguese goalkeeper.
In the very next minute, a mistake by Portugal’s defense found the ball inside the penalty box to Kudus and he headed it in front of the goal to captain Andre Ayew who fired it home. This is the first goal of an African team in the current World Cup.
The Ghanaian celebration was not over yet five minutes later when Bruno Fernandez’s pass from Jaao Felix fired in from the right. Two minutes later, Fernández once again took the ball and this time he passed it to substitute Rafael Liao on the left flank, who put the team ahead 3–1. Ronaldo got a golden chance to score another goal in the 83rd minute. He only had to beat Atzigi but he went ahead and shot straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.
Bukhari headed in a cross from the left in the 89th minute to cut Portugal’s lead and give Ghana hope of a draw, but Ronaldo’s men eventually held on to win.