QATAR: With a 3-2 victory over Ghana at Stadium 974, Portugal kicked off their World Cup campaign with quick goals from Joao Felix and Rafael Leao.
Portugal activated the victory gear with Ronaldo’s historic shot
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a penalty in the 65th minute to give his team the lead. He became the first male player to score in five different FIFA World Cups.
Ghana’s Andre Ayew equalized in the 73rd minute, but Portugal responded quickly with goals from Felix and Leao in the 78th and 80th minutes, respectively. Osman Bukari’s late effort made things interesting, but Fernando Santos’ team was able to weather the storm.
Bruno Fernandes sent Ronaldo through on goal in the 10th minute, giving Portugal an early chance. However, Ghana goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi was able to deflect the forward’s poor first touch. The captain of Portugal attempted to head in a goal from the highest position three minutes later, but he missed his target.
Ronaldo kicked the ball into the nets in the 31st minute after fending off the challenge from Alexander Djiku. He kicked the ball past Ati-Zigi, but the whistle was blown for a foul on the Ghana defender, denying Ronaldo a goal.
At the start of the second half, Ghana engaged in more offensive play. In the 55th minute, Mohammed Kudus attempted to shock his team by shooting wide of Diogo Costa’s left post.
After being brought down by Mohamed Salisu, Ronaldo finally scored from the penalty spot in the 65th minute, making World Cup history in the process.
However, in the 73rd minute, Ghana responded when Ayew converted from close range after Kudus’ low cross deflected onto his path. The goal sent the vocal Ghanaian support into delirium.
However, Ghana’s joy was short-lived. Felix put Portugal back in front after he calmly scored past Ati-Zigi five minutes later from a pass by Fernandes that broke through Ghana’s defence
Leao, the AC Milan winger, scored his first goal for Portugal. He side-footed a Fernandes pass into the nets a few moments later to increase his team’s lead. Portugal appeared to be on their way to victory, but Bukari’s header in the 89th minute raised the stakes for both teams.
Costa nearly opened the chance for Ghana to score an equalizer in the game’s dying moments. The goalkeeper rolled the ball out to the sneaking Inaki Williams in stoppage time. The striker slipped on his stride and missed the opportunity to score the goal, giving Portugal a 3-2 win.