Portugal survived a late scare in opposition to Ghana to start their World Cup marketing campaign with a 3-2 win, with Cristiano Ronaldo turned the primary ever participant to attain at 5 completely different World Cup tournaments.
All 5 objectives got here within the last half hour, with Ronaldo scoring from the spot, earlier than an Andre Ayew equaliser and quickfire Portugal strikes from Joao Felix and substitute Rafael Leao. Ghana sub Osman Bukari made a recreation of issues late on, whereas Ghana might even have equalised on the dying.
Mohammed Kudus had made the headlines forward of the sport for spiky feedback about Neymar he later branded ‘faux information’. However the Ajax expertise began poorly and was caught on the ball a few occasions when making an attempt to play too deep.
The second of these noticed Ghana goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi, normally a back-up till accidents made him primary right here, rush out to smother a Ronaldo effort. Not lengthy after, Ronaldo had one other superb likelihood, this time within the air, however bizarrely didn’t join correctly.
Ronaldo did hit the again of the online half an hour in, just for the play to be pulled again because the 37-year-old had dedicated a foul when successful the ball.
Ghana had labored laborious all through the primary half to maintain Portugal at bay on the expense of a lot attacking inventiveness. However Kudus was all the time prone to be the perfect supply of one thing and he confirmed flashes of his high quality with a driving run and low shot that simply missed the goal.
The Black Stars most likely ought to have seen Alidu Seidu despatched off across the hour mark. He was cautioned for a foul on Felix however was then solely warned relatively than additional punished when he aggressively pushed his head in opposition to the Portuguese participant.
Ghana have been incensed not lengthy after when Ronaldo went tumbling within the space as Mohammed Salisu tried to win the ball. However the 37-year-old did get to the ball first forward of the contact from the defender after which made no mistake as he fired into the highest nook from 12 yards.
Kudus had began to threaten an increasing number of, and when he ran past the ball into a sophisticated place, he was capable of hearth a low cross into the trail of Ayew to equalise. The ball squeezed by means of the legs of Danilo Pereira earlier than the Ghana captain fired in.
However Kudus and Ayew didn’t final for much longer on the pitch and the momentum rapidly shifted again to Portugal when Bruno Fernandes lastly popped up with some significant contributions. Two measured by means of balls, one to the suitable, one to left, handed Fernando Santos’ crew a fast hearth double a few minutes aside. Felix completed calmly to re-establish the lead at 2-1, earlier than a chic first-time end from Leao made it 3-1.
That ought to have been the sport achieved and dusted for Portugal. However a lapse in defensive focus from Joao Cancelo allowed Baba Rahman in to cross from the left and Bukari headed in to present Ghana the prospect of mounting a late comeback.
Portugal seemed like that they had achieved simply sufficient to carry on, however a second of insanity within the last seconds noticed goalkeeper Diogo Costa place the ball down with out realising that Inaki Williams was hiding behind him. Williams nicked it however then slipped on the essential second and the prospect went.
GK: Diogo Costa – 3/10 – Made fewer saves than objectives conceded and virtually gifted Ghana an equaliser within the last seconds with a lack of know-how.
RB: Joao Cancelo – 4/10 – Not the identical attacking full-back that Manchester Metropolis followers are used to seeing. Guilty for Ghana’s second purpose.
CB: Ruben Dias – 5/10 – Not his greatest day thought-about there was ample alternative for Portugal to be in cruise management.
CB: Danilo Pereira – 5/10 – Has grow to be used to enjoying as a centre-back at worldwide degree however ought to have cleared as Ghana scored their first.
LB: Raphael Guerreiro – 5/10 – The extra adventurous of the Portuguese full-backs within the first half. Defensively suspect within the second.
CM: Bernardo Silva – 6/10 – Noticed a number of the ball with out doing an incredible cope with it to actually take a look at Ghana.
CM: Ruben Neves – 6/10 – Shielded the again 4 and was all the time an choice to maintain the ball shifting.
CM: Otavio – 5/10 – His last ball into the field was missing fairly just a few occasions. Ended up coming off injured early within the first half.
AM: Bruno Fernandes – 7/10 – Too quiet within the first half however improved dramatically after the break. Two inch-perfect assists.
ST: Cristiano Ronaldo (c) – 7/10 – Missed early possibilities he would possibly usually have buried. Had a purpose disallowed for a foul however transformed from the spot and customarily led the road fairly effectively.
ST: Joao Felix – 7/10 – Radar appeared to be approach off within the first half like lots of his teammates. Composed end for his purpose.
SUB: William Carvalho (56′ for Otavio) – 7/10
SUB: Rafael Leao (77′ for Neves) – 7/10
SUB: Joao Palhinha (88′ for Silva) – N/A
SUB: Joao Mario (88′ for Felix) – N/A
SUB: Goncalo Guedes (88′ for Ronaldo) – N/A
Supervisor: Fernando Santos – 7/10 – Issues weren’t going that effectively within the first half, however the adjustments he made did make a big effect.
GK: Lawrence Ati-Zigi – 6/10 – A powerful early save in opposition to Ronaldo was an necessary confidence enhance. Overwhelmed by the ability of the penalty strike and stood little likelihood with the others.
CB: Daniel Amartey -7/10 – Defended fairly effectively on the suitable of the again three. At all times fast to shut down, sort out and clear.
CB: Alexander Djiku – 6/10 – Okay within the circumstances.
CB: Mohammed Salisu – 5/10 – As a lot as he protested, he was a cut up second too late tackling Ronaldo and conceded the penalty.
RWB: Alidu Seidu – 5/10 – Arguably luck to remain on the pitch when he put his head in on Felix. Subbed off quickly after anyway.
CM: Thomas Partey – 6/10 – Confirmed moments of high quality and tried to search out incisive passes.
CM: Salis Abdel Samed – 7/10 – Handed precisely and had loads of power to recuperate the ball in midfield.
CM: Mohammed Kudus – 8/10 – Caught on the ball just a few occasions early on. Performed higher when he was positioned additional ahead and was simply Ghana’s greatest supply of attacking menace.
LWB: Baba Rahman – 6/10 – Could not type his toes in time to chop out the by means of ball that gave Portugal their second purpose. However his persistence made Ghana’s late second.
ST: Andre Ayew (c) – 7/10 – Confirmed an actual striker’s intuition to equalise within the six-yard field. Appeared lower than happy to return off quickly after.
ST: Inaki Williams – 5/10 – Lacked the service he wanted.
SUB: Tariq Lamptey (67′ for Seidu) – 6/10
SUB: Jordan Ayew (77′ for Ayew) – 6/10
SUB: Osman Bukari (77′ for Kudus) – 7/10
SUB: Daniel-Kofi Kyerah (90+3 for Djiku) – N/A
SUB: Antoine Semenyo (90+3 for Samed) – N/A
Supervisor: Otto Addo – 6/10 – It was an odd transfer to take off each Kudus and Ayew proper after Ghana had obtained again into it. Arguably ought to have had Kudus additional ahead from the beginning.