He was expected, he answered present: Cristiano Ronaldo entered a little more in the history of football, Thursday, November 24, during the victory of Portugal against Ghana (3-2), for the entry into the running of the Seleçao das quinas, at stadium 974, in Doha. Author of the first goal, the former Manchester United player became the first player to score at least one goal in five different editions.
We would have had to wait. Fernando Santos’ men took nearly an hour to find the fault in the Ghanaian defense. Still, they had multiple opportunities in the first half.
Cristiano Ronaldo, already him, missed a face-to-face after about ten minutes of play. On a cross from Raphaël Guerreiro, the Portuguese captain then rose higher than everyone, but missed the target ( 0-0, 14e). Half an hour into the game, Ronaldo, still him, got the better of Alexander Djiku, before adjusting the Ghanaian goalkeeper and thought he opened the scoring. It was without counting on the referee of the meeting, who whistled an obvious fault from the Portuguese captain.
While Portugal continued to stumble on the Ghanaian wall after returning from the locker room, Ronaldo collapsed in the Ghanaian surface. Not the most obvious penalty of his career, but the referee did not reconsider his decision, to the great misfortune of the Ghanaian players. Unsurprisingly, the Portuguese captain grabbed the ball, before transforming the offering himself (1-0, 65e) and to celebrate this new record among his teammates. With this eighth goal in the World Cup, he is now only one length behind the legend of his country, Eusebio, but is still far from the goal record holder, the German Miroslav Klose (sixteen achievements in four editions).
The game is heating up
We then thought Portugal launched. It was without counting on André Ayew. On one of the rare Ghanaian incursions, Mohammed Kudus sent a cross between the legs of Danilo Pereira to find the former Marseille striker, who only had to push the ball into the back of the net (1-1, 73e).
Barely time to take a breather and see the second scorer of the day leave the field, when Joao Felix (2-1, 78e), then Rafael Leao (3-1, 80e) allowed the Portuguese to breathe. Ronaldo could even have widened the gap a little more, but the striker once again came up against Lawrence Ati (83e). Six minutes later, Osman Bukari, strangely alone at the far post, restarted the game with a header (3-2, 89e).
The result could have been terrible for the men of Fernando Santos. At the end of stoppage time, Diogo Costa, the Portuguese goalkeeper, thought to clear quietly and did not see Osman Bukari appear behind him to steal the ball. But the Ghanaian stumbled on his dribble, saving the Portuguese from a last-second equaliser.
This success, admittedly complicated, allows the Portuguese selection to take the lead in Group H, at the end of the first day. Fernando Santos’ men are ahead of Uruguay and South Korea, who left in a draw (0-0), earlier on Thursday. They will find the Uruguayans on Monday, for a revenge for the round of 16 of 2018, during which Edinson Cavani and his teammates had brought them down (2-1). A victory and Portugal would already be assured of qualification for the round of 16.
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