Led by the timeless Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal opened their 2022 FIFA World Cup marketing campaign with a 3-2 victory towards Group H rivals Ghana at Stadium 974 on Thursday (24 November). Ronaldo, Joao Felix and Rafael Leao scored for Portugal whereas André Ayew and Osman Bukari netted for Ghana
Portugal dominated the proceedings within the opening exchanges, pushing their full-backs ahead to overload the flanks. Portuguese strain lastly unblocked the Ghanaian protection within the tenth minute, when Bernardo Silva took Ronaldo out by way of the center. The previous Manchester United participant, nonetheless, failed to regulate the ball from his first contact, which allowed the goalkeeper to realize a wonderful block.
Three minutes later, Raphael Guerreiro fired a wonderful nook from the left. Ronaldo, demonstrating his unparalleled leap, met the supply, however could not information it to the goal. Within the thirtieth minute, Ronaldo discovered the again of the web fantastically, however the referee penalized the 37-year-old for committing a foul within the build-up.
Portugal appeared to finish the primary half on a excessive, shifting the ball a lot sooner and piling extra our bodies ahead. Ghana, nonetheless, held on and entered the break unscathed.
Portugal loved a sharper begin to the second half and netted the aim they have been on the lookout for within the sixty fifth minute. Their extraordinary captain was knocked down by Mohammed Salisu contained in the field, and the referee identified the spot with out hesitation. Assured as ever, the previous Actual Madrid participant hit the again of the web, changing into the primary participant to attain in 5 FIFA World Cups.
The Portuguese lead did not final lengthy, nonetheless, with Ayew equalizing for the underdogs simply eight minutes later. Mohammed Kudus rushed within the ultimate third by way of the within left channel and fired a low cross for Ayew, who made no mistake returning it from shut vary.
The 2016 European champions took the hit on the chin and instantly responded with two effective targets. First, within the 78th minute, Félix discovered the again of the web with a medical strike from the fitting aspect. A couple of minutes later, substitute Leao beat Ghanaian goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi from the left.
Ghana ought to have been down after the double whammy however the Africans opted to scare the Iberians of their 2022 FIFA World Cup opener. Abdul Rahman Baba lifted a cross from the left to the 89th minute, which deflected on its method to Bukari. The substitute was not mistaken in punishing the goalkeeper at shut vary.
The Black Stars stored the heavyweights beneath the cosh for the remainder of the match, however simply could not discover a method by way of. Listed below are three Portuguese gamers who performed and two who disillusioned towards Ghana within the 2022 FIFA World Cup curtain-raiser:
Performer: Joao Felix
Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix struggled to get into the sport within the first half as Ghana did all the pieces of their energy to neutralize him. He improved significantly within the second 45, linking up effectively with different Portuguese attackers and scoring a powerful aim. Receiving a move from Bruno Fernandes on the fitting aspect, Felix reduce inside and handed Ati-Zigi.
Objective apart, the FIFA World Cup debutant received 4 floor duels, delivered an correct lengthy ball and dedicated three fouls. He additionally cleared the ball as soon as and tried a sort out.
Underperforming: Ruben Neves
Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves endured a tricky night time towards the Black Stars. He struggled to maintain up with Kudus’ fast toes, not often made inroads into the ultimate third and was weak in one-on-one duels.
In opposition to Ghana, Neves misplaced 5 of six duels on the bottom, misplaced the ball 5 instances, was dribbled previous thrice and dedicated two fouls.
Performer: Cristiano Ronaldo
Legendary Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo made historical past towards Ghana. Not solely did he turn into the first-ever participant to attain in 5 World Cups, however he additionally turned the second-oldest goalscorer (37 years and 292 days) in World Cup historical past. Cameroonian legend Roger Milla is presently the oldest goalscorer in historical past (42 years 39 days).
Ronaldo’s historic aim got here from the penalty spot within the sixty fifth minute. He put his foot within the ball, giving Ati-Zigi no probability. Other than his miss within the tenth minute, the Actual Madrid legend had an admirable recreation.
Penalty apart, Ronaldo has received three floor duels and two aerial duels; fired three fouls and made a clearance.
Underperforming: Joao Cancelo
Manchester Metropolis full-back Joao Cancelo generally is a actual handful on occasion. Fortunately for Ghana, they weren’t at their finest on Thursday. Cancelo was partly chargeable for Ghana’s opener within the 73rd minute. He was embarrassingly out of place which allowed Kudus to burst into the Portugal field just about unchallenged and arrange Ayew.
Cancelo additionally did not create any scoring probabilities, misplaced the ball 15 instances, misplaced two duels on the bottom and misplaced a cross.
Performer: Bruno Fernandes
Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes was the perfect Portuguese participant on the 974 stadium on Thursday night time. His passing was on level, he linked up fantastically along with his teammates and supplied two effective assists.
First, he handed the ball to Felix on the fitting aspect within the 78th minute. The Atletico striker got here in and utilized an emphatic end. A couple of minutes later, he assisted Leao with a wonderfully weighted move into the left channel.
Within the Group H opener, Fernandes supplied three assists, created two nice probabilities, delivered 5 correct lengthy balls and made 4 fouls.