Portugal VS Ghana Very nearly a shock result, ends in victory for CR7’s team.

The game took place within a temporary stadium. With Cristiano Ronaldo beginning his fifth World Cup with many watching hoping that the superstar has lost his powers.

The Portuguese played one-touch football, as the rank outsiders Ghana maintained their shape and patiently played an underdog’s game. It didn’t take long for Portugal to break through, as a fine through ball to Ronaldo penetrated the back-line in the 9th minute. The touch from Ronaldo let him down, though, and the keeper claimed the ball. It was followed a few moments later, as he leapt to meet a ball in from Guerro to the back post, only to close his eyes and not make contact with the ball.

Bernardo Silva, who was likely their best player in the first half, produced an excellent ball to Jaoa Felix in the 27th minute only for him to hoof it into row Z.

Then came a moment of brilliance that was swiftly stricken off, as a very soft free kick disallowed a goal from Ronaldo in the 30th. Ronaldo nudged the Ghana defender, and spun around to finesse it into the goal. However, the fact that his forearm had been used in the challenge was the reason why the goal did not stand.

A Ghana corner came in the 36th minute, as Inaki Williams chased down Ruben Diaz, forcing him to knock it out of play. The ball in was headed away by Neves, leading to another corner. This time around, it was Ronaldo taking on the defensive duties, as he powerfully headed it away from the danger area.

A stylish ball in from Bruno Fernandes found Felix at the back post, although it got away from him only to land on a plate in front of Ronaldo, a man who has gobbled such chances up his entire career, but bizarrely switched off, and the moment of opportunity vanished.

Portugal went in at the close of the first half rightly disappointed with their performance, and that of their attackers who failed to take their chances. However, the game would come alive in the second half.

Kudus asked questions of the Portuguese defence after charging through in the 54th minute, although he narrowly missed the net with a placed shot.

Then a penalty came suddenly in the 61st minute, as the Ghana centre-back came across Ronaldo, even though he was heading away from goal, with the Portugese striker getting just a toe to the ball before the challenge came in. The stadium was tense, as Ronaldo took the ball to the spot and waited for his moment. After a slow run-up he smashed it into the top corner. The first man ever to score in five consecutive World Cups. The stadium erupted “Siu!

But the fight was far from over. A lovely back-flick set-up Kudus for a powerful strike straight into the goalkeeper. But just a minute later Kudus again sent in a low pass the defence couldn’t deal with, with Ayew there to put it in the net. The first goal scored by an African nation in this World Cup.

African hopes were quickly dashed in the 77th minute, as a counter-attack lead to Bruno Fernandes passing into the path of Felix who put it over the keeper and into the net with a lovely chip. The Ghana defence should have dealt with it, although when it got through the skillful young Portuguese showed excellent composure to regain the lead for his team.

In the 79th minute, Felix, this time winning the ball with a well-timed slide, started a Portugal counter-attack that ended with yet another goal, this time from winger Rafa Leao, with another assist from Bruno Fernandes, just 2 minutes and 15 seconds after previously finding the net.

But Ghana were resilient, heads did not drop, even after conecding a double-whamy of goals. In the 88th minute, Bukari, latched onto a cross to put the ball into the net. The forward cheekily emulated Ronaldo’s infamous goal celebration, with the camera shooting to the substituted front-man who was clearly bothered by the antics, and the fact that he had sidelined when there was still life left in the game.

As is common with this World Cup, we saw a staggering 9 minutes of extra time being added on at the end. Ghana continued to try, and Portugal seemed to switch off in the 97th minute, resulting in a moment of absolute chaos in the dying seconds, as an error led to the ball falling to Inaki WIlliams, who slipped instead of putting it into the net, a moment he will no doubt lament until his dying day. He could of walked away the hero of his nation, but Ghana come up just short.

3-2 victory to Portugal. Was it deserved? Let’s just say, had they of been facing better competition, the carelessness shown by the Portugese throughout the game would have been punished. As for Ronaldo, the forward scored from the spot majesitcally, but failed to do so in open play against a team ranked lower than Saudi Arabia in the world rankings, allowing question marks to persist about his ability to perform at the very highest level, even after he has added yet another prestiguous record to his list of accolades.

Portugal next play Uruguay Monday 28th November 19:00


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