World Cup 2022: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Ronaldo, Felix and Leao score

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first man to score at five Fifa World Cups as Portugal began their campaign with a thrilling victory over Ghana.

Ronaldo was playing for the first time since his controversial television interview last week and his subsequent release by Manchester United following the comments.

And the 37-year-old scored the opening goal from the penalty spot, hammering in after being tripped in the box by Ghana’s Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu.

Captain Ronaldo had a couple of chances early on but a low shot was smothered by Lawrence Ati-Zigi and he also headed wide at the far post.

The forward had a goal disallowed for a push on Alexander Djiku while at the other end, Ghana did not have a single shot in the opening period.

The Africans improved in the second period as Mohammed Kudus drilled narrowly wide of the far post and got their reward when Andre Ayew equalized from close range.

But Portugal responded with two goals in two minutes to seal the points – Joao Felix converting a delightfully clipped finish and substitute Rafael Leao coolly stroking in just seconds after coming on.

Osman Bukhari headed in a late consolation for Ghana and there could have been real drama in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

Goalkeeper Diogo Costa put the ball down, seemingly unaware Inaki Williams was behind him, but after racing to intercept the ball, the Ghana forward slipped at the crucial moment and a scuffed shot was cleared off the line.

Victory means Portugal top Group H after Uruguay and South Korea played out a goalless draw earlier on Thursday.

Ronaldo hogs the headlines again

The focus before this game was on just one man – Ronaldo.

The veteran forward came into the tournament with a cloud over his head following the explosive TalkTV interview where he said he felt “betrayed” by Manchester United.

Unhappy with what he had to say, the Premier League club initiated a process to terminate his contract, which was confirmed on Tuesday.

But the player will be in the headlines for all the right reasons this time, as he surpassed the great Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose to stand on his own by scoring at five different editions of the tournament.

Supporters were on their feet in anticipation every time Ronaldo got anywhere near the ball and they erupted when his strike from the penalty spot in the second half – which came after relatively easy missed opportunities in the opening period – hit the back of the net.

He was also a record-extending 118th international goal, which includes eight in the group stage of the World Cup, though he is the player with the most strikes without netting in the knockout stage.

Former West Ham and Swansea striker Ayew leveled from Mohammed Kudus’ cutback to extend Ghana’s run of scoring in their last six World Cup games.

Felix’s sumptuous finish and Leao’s nerveless effort looked to have sealed the points for Portugal with 10 minutes remaining.

Substitute Bukari headed in and celebrated with Ronaldo’s ‘Siu’. Otto Addo’s side would have been delighted with a draw and almost got it, but for Williams’ slip.

Player of the game

LampteyTariq Lamptey

Portugal

  1. Squad number8Player nameBruno Fernandes

  2. Squad number15Player nameRafael Leao

  3. Squad number10Player nameBernardo Silva

  4. Squad number18Player nameRuben Neves

  5. Squad number4Player nameRuben Dias

  6. Squad number11Player nameJoao Felix

  7. Squad number14Player nameWilliam Carvalho

  8. Squad number20Player nameJoao Cancelo

  9. Squad number6Player nameJoao Palhinha

  10. Squad number17Player nameJoao Mario

  11. Squad number7Player nameCristiano Ronaldo

  12. Squad number5Player nameRaphael Guerreiro

  13. Squad number25Player nameOtavio

  14. Squad number26Player nameGoncalo Ramos

  15. Squad number13Player nameDanilo Pereira

  16. Squad number22Player nameDiogo Costa

Ghana

  1. Squad number2Player nameLamptey

  2. Squad number5Player namePartey

  3. Squad number10Player nameTo Ayew

  4. Squad number20Player nameKudus

  5. Squad number4Player nameSalisu

  6. Squad number1Player nameAti Zigi

  7. Squad number25Player nameSemenyo

  8. Squad number18Player nameAmartey

  9. Squad number17Player nameBaba

  10. Squad number11Player nameBukari

  11. Squad number21Player nameAbdul Samed

  12. Squad number23Player nameDjiku

  13. Squad number26Player nameseidu

  14. Squad number19Player namewilliams

  15. Squad number9Player nameJ Ayew

  16. Squad number8Player nameKyereh

Line-ups

Portugal

Training 4-3-3

  • 22Meireles da Costa
  • 20Cancelo
  • 4Ruben Dias
  • 13daniloBooked at 90mins
  • 5Guerreiro
  • 10Bernardo SilvaSubstituted forJoao Palhinhadid 88′minutes
  • 18NevesSubstituted forfrom Conceição Leãodid 77′minutes
  • 25OtavioSubstituted forWilliam Carvalhodid 56′minutes
  • 8Bruno FernandesBooked at 90mins
  • 7Cristiano RonaldoSubstituted forMatias Ramosdid 88′minutes
  • 11Felix SequeiraSubstituted forJoao Mariodid 88′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Rui Patricio
  • 2scupper
  • 3Pepe
  • 6Joao Palhinha
  • 9Andre Silva
  • 12Her
  • 14William Carvalho
  • 15from Conceição Leão
  • 16Vitinha
  • 17Joao Mario
  • 21da Luz Horta
  • 23Nunes
  • 24Pereira de Albuquerque Tavares da Silva
  • 26Matias Ramos

Ghana

Training 5-3-2

  • 1Ati Zigi
  • 26seiduBooked at 57minsSubstituted forLampteydid 66′minutes
  • 18Amartey
  • 23DjikuSubstituted forSemenyodid 90+2′minutes
  • 4Salisu
  • 17Baba
  • 5Partey
  • 20KudusBooked at 45minsSubstituted forBukaridid 77′minutes
  • 21Abdul SamedSubstituted forKyerehdid 90+2′minutes
  • 10To AyewBooked at 49minsSubstituted forJ Ayewdid 77′minutes
  • 19williamsBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 2Lamptey
  • 3Odoi
  • 6Owusu
  • 7fatawu
  • 8Kyereh
  • 9J Ayew
  • 11Bukari
  • 12Danlad
  • 13Afriya
  • 14mensah
  • 15Aidoo
  • 16nurudian
  • 22Sulemana
  • 24sowah
  • 25Semenyo

Referee:
Ismail Elfath

Waiting:
42,662

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