- DOHA: Cristiano Ronaldo became the first man to score in five World Cups on Thursday when he scored the first goal from the penalty spot in Portugal’s 3-2 win over Ghana.
The 37-year-old set the record when he smashed his 65th-minute direct shot at Doha’s 974 Stadium to send Fernando Santos’ side to a victory that put them atop Group ‘H’, two points ahead of Uruguay and South Korea.
Joao Felix and rising star Rafael Leao secured victory after Andre Ayew’s leveller briefly threatened to ruin Ronaldo’s party.
Osman Bukari scored in the last minute for Ghana, but the worst-ranked team of the tournament could not be surprised and sat at the bottom of the group.
Manchester United announced this week that Ronaldo will leave with immediate effect after criticizing the club and manager Erik ten Hag in a television interview, but has shown no signs of tension since the bitter end of his time at Old Trafford.
All the attention before the match was on Ronaldo and if he could break the record and he had the perfect chance to do so in the 10th minute.
Mohammed Kudus gave the ball away carelessly in midfield and Otavio slipped past Ronaldo, only for the once clinical finisher to poorly control the pass and hit Ghanaian goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi as he tried to push home.
And soon after, Ronaldo headed a deep cross from Raphael Guerreiro from close range, an opportunity that at his best would have been almost guaranteed to score.
He had the ball in the net just after the half-hour mark when he fell into the area but was harshly judged by referee Ismail Elfath for pushing Alexander Djiku before turning and stroking a classy shot.
Ronaldo was Portugal’s only real goal threat against what on paper is the weakest team in Group H, which was backed by an enthusiastic group of supporters who put on more spectacle in the stands than their everyday players initially on the pitch.
Ajax midfielder Kudus made the crowd briefly rise 10 minutes after half-time when he burst forward against an exposed Portuguese defense and unleashed a powerful shot that ultimately went comfortably away from Diogo Costa’s left post.
Ronaldo then crashed into his record-breaking penalty, but as the chorus of cheers and chants of his name began to fade, a previously boring game came to life, Ayew stunned the crowd by touching Kudus’ kickback in the 73rd minute.
However, Felix and Leao ensured Portugal took the points with two beautiful shots in as many minutes, both goals set by Ronaldo’s former teammate Bruno Fernandes.
Bukari then imitated Ronaldo with his goal-scoring celebration after going home completely unmarked, but Portugal held on for a big win on a historic day.
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