Portugal is the better team against Ghana, but has had a hard time for a long time. Then Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Félix and Rafael Leao put the Portuguese on the road to success at the World Cup in Qatar. And Ghana is complaining about a controversial penalty.
Portugal won their opening game in Group H against Ghana in a spectacular way 3-2 (0-0). Cristiano Ronaldo converted a disputed penalty and took the lead himself (65th minute). He is the first professional football player to score in five different World Cups – and is the only record holder in this category.
The Portuguese quickly found an answer to the equalizer by Ghanaian top star André Ayew (73′): Joao Félix (78′) and Rafael Leao (80′) scored to make it 3-1. A late header from Osman Bukari (89′) brought the Ghanaians closer, but in a wild final phase they just missed the equalizer.
Portugal with Ronaldo, Ghana with five defenders
Before the match, much had been said about Portuguese superstar Ronaldo. After a disappointing half of the season at Manchester United he had given an explosive interview accusing the club of “betrayal”. The club announced on Tuesday that the striker’s contract has been terminated. Not everyone is convinced of him in Portugal either, but trainer Fernando Santos let the 37-year-old captain play as a central striker from the start. Ghanaian coach and former Bundesliga player Otto Addo fielded five defenders.
And Ronaldo was immediately in the middle of the action on the pitch. After the Ghanaians lost the ball, he was served, but took the ball away unclean and therefore could not sneak past Lawrence Ati Zigi in the Ghanaian goal (10th minute). Shortly afterwards, he came first from a Raphael Guerreiro cross, but headed wide. A game developed in which Portugal, captained by Bernardo Silva, patiently circulated the ball in their own ranks and Ghana tried to keep the technically talented Portuguese from combining close staggering.
Kudus with the first chance for Ghana
Just as the game was about to go to sleep, Ronaldo caused another stir. He knocked Alexander Djiku in the penalty area and shot the ball into the far corner. Referee Ismail Elfath had already blown his whistle because Ronaldo would have pushed his opponent away without permission. A very controversial decision. However, nothing came from Ghana offensively in the first round.
That did not change after the break. But then Mohammed Kudus grabbed the ball, led it several yards ahead and shot flat and sharp. His shot just missed the target (55th). Luck for the Portuguese, who demanded a red card shortly afterwards. Seidu Alidu had at least hinted at a headbutt against Felix after running over him at full speed. Alidu only got yellow.
Ronaldo scores after a controversial penalty
The game was now gaining momentum. And referee Elfath made the next questionable decision. In a duel with Mohammed Salisu, Ronaldo fell into the penalty area and Elfath gave a penalty kick. Salisu had hit Ronaldo’s foot and the ball. The Portuguese shot through the top left corner to take the lead (65′).
The Ghanaians were disappointed by the decision and were better in the game from that moment on. Just a few minutes after falling behind, they equalized through Ayew (73′). The Ghanaian star was served low by Kudus and only had to push the ball into the goal. However, the “Black Stars” could not hold out the draw for long. Joao Félix (78′) gave Portugal the lead again after a nice combination and substitute Rafael Leao (80′) increased his first contact with a low shot into the far corner. Bruno Fernandes prepared both goals.
Ghana’s goal in a wild final phase
The game seemed decided, but then Osman Bukari from Ghana headed the goal (89th). As he celebrated, he mimicked the famous Ronaldo gesture. In exciting extra time, Otto Addo’s team put the pressure on and almost equalized. In the last scene of the match, Portuguese goalkeeper Diogo Costa lost sight of Inaki Williams behind him. The striker tipped the ball away from him, but slipped and was therefore disrupted shortly before his shot to a possible 3:3. Portugal and Ronaldo celebrated, while Ghana was annoyed by the narrow defeat and what he said was an unjust penalty.
The Portuguese will meet Uruguay on matchday two (28/11/2022, 20:00 CET). Ghana will play South Korea (28/11, 2:00 PM CET).