Portugal 3-2 Ghana: 5 hits and flops ft. Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes | 2022 FIFA World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal got their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 3-2 win over Ghana at Stadium 974 on November 24. Goals from Ronaldo (65′), Joao Felix (78′), and Rafael Leao (80′) helped the European side take control of the contest. Meanwhile, Andre Ayew (73′) and Osman Bukari (89′) scored to keep Ghana in the contest until the final whistle.

Portugal dominated the proceedings in the first half and managed to carve out two clearcut chances that were not converted by their captain. Ronaldo’s poor touch saw the first opportunity go begging while another saw him bury his header just wide of the goal.

While things didn’t improve after the break, the European side had a slice of good luck in winning a penalty. Just past the hour mark, Ronaldo went down in the box under a challenge from Mohammed Salisu. Despite it looking like a soft call, the referee pointed to the spot and allowed the forward to place the ball past Lawrence Ati-Zigi and break the deadlock.

Their lead lasted less than 10 minutes as Mohammed Kudus, who was Ghana’s best player until then, intercepted a pass in the Portugal box. He passed it across the face of goal for Andre Ayew to slam it home from close range.

The Portuguese took back the lead in the 79th minute when Bruno Fernandes’ pass put Joao Felix one-on-one with Ati-Zigi. The Atletico Madrid forward made no mistake with his dinked finish.

Two minutes later, Fernandes found an overlapping Rafael Leao on the left. The substitute ran unmarked from the halfway line and slotted the ball into the far corner to make it 3-1.

Just as the game looked to be heading towards an uneventful ending, Osman Bukari headed home from close range to set up a grandstand finish. Ghana did their best to get the equalizer but Portugal defended in numbers to wrap up the win and go top of Group H.

On that note, here are five hits and flops from Portugal’s win over Ghana:


#.1 Hit – Cristiano Ronaldo | Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo in action against Ghana at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.
Cristiano Ronaldo in action against Ghana at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.

While this wasn’t a typical performance we’ve come to see from Cristiano Ronaldo, context matters in his performance against Ghana. He has struggled all season at Manchester United, where he barely played. Just a few days ago, it was announced that the Red Devils have mutually agreed to part ways with the star.

Ronaldo was dealing with bad form and terrible PR following an ill-advised interview, and there were questions raised over his waning abilities. However, he put everything at the back of his mind to put his side in the lead. In the process, he became the first man to score at five FIFA World Cups.


#2. Hit – Mohammed Kudus | Ghana

Mohammed Kudus in action against Portugal at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.
Mohammed Kudus in action against Portugal at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.

Mohammed Kudus was Ghana’s best player in their opening game. Despite being caught on the ball a few times in the early stages, he recovered and played better when he began popping up much further up the pitch.

His substitution with 15 minutes left on the clock was, in hindsight, a terrible decision that killed Ghana’s chances of causing an upset.


#3. Hit – Bruno Fernandes | Portugal

Bruno Fernandes' two assists helped his side take all three points against Ghana.
Bruno Fernandes’ two assists helped his side take all three points against Ghana.

Like almost every player on the pitch, Bruno Fernandes had a quiet first half before coming alive in the second. He wasn’t at his usual best. However, his two inch-perfect assists for Joao Felix and Rafael Leao gave Portugal some breathing room, despite Ghana’s late resurgence.

Bruno Fernandes’ game by numbers vs. Ghana:100% aerial duels won94% pass accuracy 66 touches 5/6 long balls completed 4 ground duels won 3 key passes2 big chances created 2 assists Crucial contribution. 😮‍💨 https://t.co/aTCbfPYEEH


#4. Flop – Bernardo Silva | Portugal

Bernardo Silva tried to evade Mohammed Kudus at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.
Bernardo Silva tried to evade Mohammed Kudus at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.

Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes had identical games for the most part. They saw a lot of the ball but made little use of it and failed to test Ghana. While Fernandes made an impact with his two assists, Silva continued to be a passenger on the pitch until his substitution.


#5. Hit – Andre Ayew | Ghana

Andre Ayew celebrates after scoring against Portugal.
Andre Ayew celebrates after scoring against Portugal.

Like his Portuguese counterpart Ronaldo, Ghana’s captain Andre Ayew did not contribute much to the game until his goal. The 32-year-old was in the right place at the right time to equalize and bring the contest alive.

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