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Portugal won 3-2 on Thursday against Ghana for their opening match in Qatar. A game over denied Cristiano Ronaldo made history in the competition by becoming the first player to score in five consecutive tournaments.
It was a personal goal for Cristiano Ronaldo. Make World Cup history by becoming the first player to register at five different World Cups. He did so by opening the scoring when Portugal entered the fray against Ghana, a match won by the Seleçao 3-2.
A Cristiano Ronaldo who appeared quite moved when retained the Portuguese anthem before the start of the match. An understandable emotion when at 37, he seizes his fifth and probably the last World Cup, with the stated objective of offering it to his country.
Under the impetus of its leader, the Seleçao quickly took control of the debates. On a loss of ball from Kudus in the midfield, Bruno Fernandes launches Cristiano Ronaldo in depth. The Portuguese captain is overtaken by Ati-Zigi, perfectly out (8e). It was CR7 again who received a cross from Raphaël Guerreiro a few minutes later. But, slightly unbalanced, he fails to frame (14e).
The Portuguese largely monopolize the ball but the Black Stars are resisting and methodically stifling each offensive, encouraged by their crowd present in numbers and music just behind Ati-Zigi’s cage.
Cristiano Ronaldo believes to open the score. Launched, he gets rid of Djiku and deceives the goalkeeper. However, the referee had deemed the contact with the Ghanaian defender irregular (31e). The Portuguese lay siege to the Ghanaian area, trying in particular to break through the safe from the left side and the inspirations of Joao Félix, Otavio and Raphaël Guerreiro. The Black Stars end the first half without any incursion into the opposing box.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Jordan Ayew in History
Otto Addo probably found the words in the locker room to talk to his men. Ghana returns to the pitch with much better intentions. At the 51e minute, Williams finally enters the box on a pass from Kudus but the offensive is quickly annihilated. Then it’s the passer’s turn to turn into a shooter. The Ajax Amsterdam player takes his chance from 30 yards but his shot misses the right post.
As the tension rises physically between the two teams and the yellow cards multiply, Cristiano Ronaldo collapses in the box after contact with Salisu. Despite protests from the Black Stars, the referee points to the penalty spot. CR7 appears focused, almost stressed, when shooting. He contemplates the stadium for a long time before setting off, aware that he would go down in history as the only player to have scored in five different World Cups. But the mark of the greats is not to crack under pressure and he “simply” sends the ball into the skylight. The whole Portugal team but also all the substitutes rush to congratulate him (64e1-0).
A short-lived joy, however. Ghana seems overexcited by this but. And it is finally another glorious old man who equalizes: André Ayew, served by Kudus, who finds the net at 32 years old (73e, 1-1). A great reward for this midfielder, who also made history during this meeting by becoming the African who played the most World Cup matches (eight).
Rain of goals at the end of the match
But the match ignites. On a counter, Joao Félix is served on the right side. He accelerates and sends a cross shot to the bottom of the Ghanaian cage (78e, 2-1). Then the incoming Rafael Leao definitely knocks out the Black Stars (80e, 3-1). Ronaldo could even have made the score even worse but he stumbled over Ati-Zigi. A parade that offers hope to the Black Stars, especially when Bukari reduces the score (89e, 3-2). But the last assaults and the nine minutes of extra time do not allow the Ghanaians to reverse the score. Ghana, however, believed in it on a huge mess by Costa (90e+8).
Mission accomplished for Portugal, which begins for the first time since 2006 the World Cup with a victory. The band of Ronaldo even takes the lead in Group H, thanks to the draw between Uruguay and South Korea. As for Ghana, it unlocked the goal counter of African teams but not that of victories.
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