First day in Group H of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Ronaldo led the Lusitanians against Ghana. First international goal for Leao
The Portugal start i World Cup 2022 in Qatar beating the Ghana 3-2 on the first day of Group H and taking the summit. Challenge that was unlocked in the second half after a first half at a slow pace, opened by the (doubtful) penalty won and scored by Cristiano Ronaldo at 65′. Not even the time to celebrate the record goal for CR7 that the Ghana in the 73rd minute he equalized with Andre Ayew after a personal action by Kudus. Two errors in the middle of the field, however, opened the doors to success at the Portugal who in the space of two minutes, between 78′ and 80′, extended first with Joao Felix and then with the AC Milan player’s first international goal Leao. At the end Bukari shortens distances, but not enough to snatch a point for the Ghana.
The beauty of the World Cup is that nothing can be taken for granted, but even in the same match the flow of the game can change in the blink of an eye. Portugal-Ghana 3-2 was as soporific in the first half as it was bubbly in the second half, but it took a questionable episode to unblock it with the penalty brought about by Cristiano Ronaldo which leaves some doubts. From the goal from the penalty spot onwards, everything happened, up to the sensational final blunder by Diogo Costa who was about to give Ghana the 3-3 in the 99th minute.
Certainly, Ghana put its weight in the first half by fielding a 5-3-1-1 formation that to define covered is an understatement. Coach Addo gave very precise tasks to his boys, perched in front of his own penalty area watching Portugal dribble horizontally with a few hauls here and there to tease offensive fantasies that remained so. Only one mistake led to a jolt when Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal was disallowed for a light push on the Ghanaian defender.
An almost venial touch, but punished, exactly like Salisu’s touch on CR7 himself in the 65th minute of the second half which the referee deemed a penalty. That was the fuse that lit the challenge, Ronaldo’s creation from eleven meters was the spark that set off the half hour of fireworks. Down by a goal, in fact, Ghana obviously let go of the brakes, taking only eight minutes to find a way to beat Diogo Costa; Kudus took care of it with an action on the left that brought the ball to Andre Ayew in the center of the area for a 1-1 draw.
A draw that lasted only five minutes, time for the Ghana coach to set up defensive changes and to be immediately punished by the football gods, in this case in the form of Bruno Fernandes. In the space of two minutes, the former Novara, Sampdoria and Udinese player took advantage of the spaces in midfield after recovering the ball to assist Joao Felix for the 2-1 and then the AC Milan player Leao for the 3-1, as well as the first national team goal.
finished? Not at all. Two minutes from the 90th minute Bukari found the goal that ignited the nine, infinite, recovery minutes and right in the 99th minute the Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa decided to test the coronaries of Portuguese players, staff and fans; with the ball in his hand after a save, Costa didn’t notice Inaki Williams behind him, dropping the ball to clear it from the ground, but having to face the return of the Ghanaian forward who was quick to steal the ball from him, but unlucky to slide just before complete the joke.
Portugal (4-3-1-2): Diogo It costs 4.5; Cancelo 5.5, Dias 6, Danilo 5.5, Guerreiro 6; B. Fernandes 7, Neves 6 (32′ st Leao 6.5), Otavio 5.5 (11′ st Carvalho 6.5); Bernardo 6,5 (43′ st Palhinha sv); Joao Felix 7 (43′ st Ramos sv), Ronaldo 6,5 (43′ st Joao Mario sv). Extras: Rui Patricio, Sà, Pepe, Dalot, Antonio Silva, Vitinha, Nunes, R. Horta, Andre Silva. CT: Santos 6.5.
Ghana (5-4-1): Ati-Zigi 6; Seidu 6 (22′ st Lamptey 5.5), Djiku 5.5, Amartey 5.5, Salisu 6, Baba 6; Kudus 6.5 (31′ st Bukari 6.5), Partey 6, Abdul Samed 5.5, A. Ayew 6.5 (31′ st J. Ayew 6); Williams 5.5. Available: Danlad, Nurudeen, Mensah, Aidoo, Odoi, Kyereh, Sulemana, Owusu, Semenyo, Sowah, Afriyie, Fatawu. CT: Addo 6.
Markers: 20′ st rig. Ronaldo (P), 28′ st A. Ayew (G), 33′ st Joao Felix (P), 35′ st Leao (P), 44′ st Bukari (G)
Ammonite yourself: Danilo, Fernandes (P); Kudus, Ayew, Seidu, Williams (G)
• Cristiano Ronaldo is the first player to score in five World Cups, surpassing Pelé, Uwe Seeler, Miroslav Klose and Lionel Messi (all four).
• Cristiano Ronaldo is the second oldest player to score at the World Cup (37 years, 292 days), behind only Roger Milla in 1994 for Cameroon (42 years, 39 days). He is also the oldest to score for a European nation, surpassing Sweden’s Gunnar Gren (37 years, 236 days) in 1958.
• Rafael Leão (23 years 14 days) and Joao Felix (23 years 167 days) are the two youngest players to score on his World Cup debut for Portugal.
• Bruno Fernandes is the second Portuguese to have two assists in a match since José Torres against Brazil in 1966, and the only one to have assisted two different team-mates in the same game (João Félix and Rafael Leão).
• Cristiano Ronaldo has scored all eight World Cup goals in the group stages; he is the player who has scored the most goals in the competition (eight) without scoring in the knockout stage yet (six knockout stage appearances without scoring).
• André Ayew is Ghana’s oldest World Cup goalscorer at 32 years and 342 days, surpassing Gyan Asamoah who was 28 years and 216 days old when he scored against Portugal in the 2014 World Cup.
• Since 2014, only Ahmed Musa has scored more World Cup goals for an African country (4 for Nigeria) than André Ayew (3).
• Portugal won their first World Cup group stage match for the first time since 2006 (1-0 against Angola), finishing fourth in the competition on that occasion.
• For the first time Ghana have not attempted a shot in the first half of a World Cup match, and for the first time Portugal have not conceded any shots to their opponents in the first half of the competition .
• Since 1966 Ghana are the second team not to have made a shot or touch in the opposition box in the first half of a World Cup match, following Saudi Arabia against France in 1998.
• Cristiano Ronaldo is the fifth player to play in five different World Cups after Antonio Carbajal, Rafael Márquez, Lothar Matthäus and Lionel Messi.
• Ghana are the third team to fail in the first half at this World Cup (Saudi Arabia and Costa Rica being the other two). It is the first time it has happened three times in a single edition of the World Cup since 1966.
• André Ayew is the active player with the most World Cup appearances for an African club (8).