In a crucial 3-2 victory over Ghana in Doha, the Portugal captain won and converted a penalty before fellow forward Joao Felix took center stage. There will always be Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal captain responded to the controversy and criticism in the greatest way possible by helping his nation begin their World Cup campaign with a 3-2 victory over Ghana on Thursday.
Ronaldo, whose bitter departure from Manchester United was officially announced on Tuesday, turned around a sluggish game by winning and converting a penalty. Of fact, it should have never been given because the Seleccao captain fell to the ground when Mohammed Salisu made the slightest touch.
Of course, he didn’t care. Ronaldo had one goal in mind: to score. He duly delivered on that promise, becoming the first player to score in five World Cup finals. But to Ghana’s credit, they made every effort to sabotage his evening, with Andre Ayew inciting riotous celebrations among the small group of Ghanaian supporters behind one of the goals.
However, Joao Felix then took control, scoring a beautiful goal to put Portugal back in lead before grabbing the ball to set up‘s 3-1 goal. Ronaldo, who had been replaced, watched uneasily as Ghana refused to concede, and Osman Bukari set up a tense conclusion. However, Portugal managed to hang on and earn three crucial points on yet another historic evening for their captain.
The Performing Side:
Cristiano Ronaldo: You just had a feeling he would succeed. It’s just what Ronaldo does, especially when he comes under criticism. By doing what he does best—scoring goals—he always answers in the greatest way imaginable. Ronaldo’s night appeared to be going to be disappointing after he missed a one-on-one opportunity in the first half, but he brilliantly won a penalty in the 65th, and it was always certain that he would score. The 37-year-performance old’s wasn’t particularly impressive, but he’s created an account with Qatar 2022 in the hopes of winning the one big award that’s been missing from his impressive résumé and, in the process, finding a new job.
Joao Felix: Joao Felix’s participation in the Portugal starting lineup caused some Seleccao supporters to scratch their heads. They wanted Rafael Leao to start, and the talented AC Milan forward made it clear why by scoring just a few seconds after coming on. Felix, though, defended the choice of Fernando Santos stunningly. While he only scored three goals in the first half of the Liga season, he didn’t appear to be a player lacking in confidence as he slammed home Portugal’s second goal and released Bruno Fernandes to score the game-winning third after reclaiming the ball in midfield. Felix’s time at Atletico Madrid has been nothing short of a disaster, and the January transfer window may see him leave.
Ghana’s brass band: During a terrible first half, we may not have seen any good football, but at least we were given a fantastic concert. For the first 45 minutes, Ghana’s brass band didn’t stop playing for a single second, and their fellow spectators cheered them on with constant singing and dancing. Seriously, everyone else might have fallen asleep before the on-field excitement finally arrived after the break if it weren’t for the Black Stars fans and the amazing show they put on.
The Losing Side:
Inaki Williams: The Athletic Club forward came within inches of netting one of the most creative goals in World Cup history. Williams waited behind the goal as Diogo Costa prepared to kick the ball upfield with only a few seconds left in the game. Williams rushed forward and stole the ball away from Costa after the Portugal goalie flung it to the ground. Sadly, the forward stumbled as he attempted to shoot, allowing Danilo Pereira to block the shot. Williams and Ghana both received such terrible treatment. A draw would have been an amazing outcome. Instead, they are currently engaged in a fierce fight to advance from Group H.
Otavio: If Otavio continues to start for Portugal against Uruguay on Monday, it will come as a huge shock. The attacking midfielder, who was born in Brazil, played with a lot of vigor and excitement but lacked talent and cutting edge. He took a few careless long-range shots throughout the first half and was appropriately replaced barely 11 minutes into the second half following a dreadfully overhit through-ball attempt. Otavio’s replacement in Portugal has plenty of options, as the second half demonstrated. Against Uruguay, Santos could start the high-heeled Leao up front with Felix and Ronaldo and insert Joao Mario or William Carvalho into a slightly more defensively-minded midfield, or they could decide to start Bruno Fernandes in a slightly more withdrawn position.
The Officials: A journalist gave Ghana coach Otto Addo the chance to congratulate Cristiano Ronaldo on his historic goal during the post-match news conference, and Otto Addo did so. However, Addo swiftly followed up by calling the forward’s penalty “a fantastic gift.” It was obvious what was meant. Addo saw that there had been two glaring mistakes. The referee, who gave the penalty kick, made the first. And the second by VAR, who did not step in. Although the referees will undoubtedly claim that there was contact, it was insufficient to excuse Ronaldo’s fall or the imposition of a penalty. Therefore, it was very natural that Addo was upset.
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