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World Cup 2022 - Portugal 3-2 Ghana: Cristiano Ronaldo creates yet another piece of history in five-goal thriller

Nick Wilhelm

Updated: Nov 25, 2022 01:37

World Cup 2022 - Portugal 3-2 Ghana: Cristiano Ronaldo creates yet another piece of history in five-goal thriller

penaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his penalty for Portugal

In a dramatic Group H match, Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the first time in five World Cups as his penalty saved Portugal from losing to Ghana 3-2.

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Match report as Cristiano Ronaldo helps Portugal clinch a 3-2 win over Ghana in their World Cup opener; 37-year-old's penalty made him the first man to score in five World Cups; Portugal move top of Group H after Uruguay's goalless draw with South Korea

After leaving Manchester United by mutual consent following his incendiary comments, Ronaldo became a free agent. He responded to his detractors by making history when he converted the opening penalty kick after being fouled by Mohammed Salisu (65).

When veteran Ghanaian striker Andre Ayew scored a close-range goal against the flow of play in the 73rd minute, Portugal soon answered with goals from Joao Felix (78) and substitute Rafael Leao (80), both of which were assisted by Bruno Fernandes.

Portugal had to survive a tense finish as Osman Bukari headed in Ghana's second goal, but Ronaldo, who scored his first World Cup goal as a 21-year-old back in 2006, reveled in the spotlight following a turbulent week and received a standing ovation when he was substituted (89).

In the tenth minute of stoppage time, Ghana had a great chance to grab a point when Inaki Williams caught Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa off guard to steal possession in the area. However, the forward lost his balance at the key moment, allowing Ronaldo and his team to hold on for the victory.

How Ronaldo made history again

Ronaldo grabbed center stage throughout the game as well, but for the wrong reasons as he wasted two golden opportunities in the early going. Ronaldo dominated the build-up to the game as the aftermath from his contentious interview last week continued.

Otavio's through pass allowed Ghana's Lawrence Ati-Zigi to race off his line and deny him in a one-on-one situation first. Then, minutes later, he strangely headed a Raphael Guerreiro cross wide at the far post.

ronaldo-penalty

Ronaldo scores from the penalty spot against Ghana

Big moments in the game...

Pre-match: Ronaldo appears emotional during the national anthem

13 min: Ronaldo heads wide from second of two early chances

31 min: Ronaldo has a goal disallowed for a foul on Djiku

65 min: Ronaldo finally gets his goal from the spot

73 min: Ayew scores Ghana leveller out of nothing

78 min: Joao Felix restores Portugal's lead

80 min: Rafael Leao adds Portugal's third goal

89 min: Bukari's late strike sets up a nervy finale

Ronaldo did manage to put the ball in the back of the net as Portugal maintained their lead in the 31st minute, but the referee ruled that he had fouled Alexander Djiku before beating Ati-Zigi, so his celebrations were cut short.

After being released by Manchester United, Ronaldo has become a transfer target for Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal. In the first half, he continued to cut a frustrated figure by failing to take advantage of a Guerreiro header that fell to him inside the six-yard box, but the story changed drastically after the break.

Up until that point, Ghana had diligently defended, but Ronaldo finally took advantage of his opportunity after being deemed to have been fouled by Salisu, striking a decisive penalty beyond Ati-grasp, Zigi's his 118th international goal setting off loud celebrations in Portugal.

andre-ayew-scores

Andre Ayew celebrates with his team-mates after equalising for Ghana

Danilo Pereira, a Portuguese defender, failed to block a cutback from the dangerous Mohammed Kudus, which allowed Ghana's Ayew to score from close range, bringing the score to a temporary tie.

Then, barely three minutes after coming on, the substitute Leao scored his first goal for Brazil, converting from another Fernandes pass after Felix had finished coolly from the latter's through-ball.

The game appeared to be over for Ghana after those goals, and Fernando Santos took advantage of the opportunity to substitute Ronaldo for the remaining moments. However, a mistake from Joao Cancelo allowed Bukari to score again, and there was then a major scare when Costa was robbed by Williams at the very end.

However, Portugal managed to hold on, and the victory propelled them to the top of Group H. Ronaldo was able to take a break while still pursuing the one title that has eluded him.

Ronaldo's record-breaking night - Opta stats

Cristiano Ronaldo is the first player to have a goal in five different World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022).

Along with Ivica Olic of Croatia and Michael Laudrup of Denmark, Cristiano Ronaldo is now the third player to have scored a goal for his nation's oldest and youngest age groups at the World Cup.

After Roger Milla in 1994 for Cameroon, Cristiano Ronaldo is the second-oldest player to score at the World Cup (37 years, 292 days) (42 years, 39 days). He surpassed Sweden's Gunnar Gren (37 years, 236 days) in 1958 to become the oldest player to score for a European country.

Bruno Fernandes joined José Torres in 1966 as the only other player from Portugal to record two assists in a World Cup match.

What the result means...

Portugal now leads Group H going into their matchup with Uruguay on Monday thanks to the victory.

In the opening match of the group, South Korea held Uruguay to a scoreless draw.

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