Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed the headlines for Portugal as they limped to a 3-2 win over Ghana in their Group G opener at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The 37-year-old star became the first player to find the net in five editions of the FIFA World Cup with his goal against the Black Stars.
Having trounced Nigeria’s Super Eagles in preparation for the tournament, Portugal were up against another West African side, Ghana, in their Group G opener.
The opening exchanges were dominated by the Europeans and they forced the Black Stars to sit back and defend deep. They thought they had found the opener in the first half as Cristiano Ronaldo fired home from inside the box but the goal was disallowed for a foul on Alexander Djiku by the former Manchester United man.
After a drab first half, the match came to life in the second half with Cristiano Ronaldo at the centre of it all. The veteran forward ventured into Ghana’s 18-yard area where he went down rather easily following attention from Mohammed Salisu, and the referee awarded a contentious penalty. He dusted himself off and blasted his effort into the back of the net before wheeling away in celebration after 64 minutes.
It took all of nine minutes, but Ghana mustered a response through captain Andre Ayew. The 34-year-old was on hand to tap home from close range after a failed clearance from Danilo Pereira following a cross from Mohammed Kudus.
The parity lasted a mere five minutes as Portugal went in front once more, this time through Joao Felix. The Atletico Madrid man was brilliantly found by a Bruno Fernandes through ball before lifting the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper with impressive poise.
Rafael Leao got in on the act for Selecao with virtually his first touch of the game in the 80th minute. The AC Milan man curled a low effort into the far post after another Bruno assist.
Ghana continued to fight and pulled one back in the 90th minute through Osman Bukari. The substitute was on hand to head home from close range after a cross from Baba Rahman.
Portugal held on to claim the win and move to the top of Group E following the earlier draw between Uruguay and South Korea. Cristiano Ronaldo became the first man in history to score in five editions of the FIFA World Cup following his strike against Ghana.