European giants, Portugal defeated Ghana 3:2 in first group game of the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Thursday evening.
It were goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix and Rafael Leao that enabled Portugal to secure the vital three points at the Stadium 974 in Doha with Andre Ayew and Osman Bukari scoring the consolation goals for Ghana.
Portugal dominated the entire forty-five minutes of the game with Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix, Otavio and Bernardo Silva of Manchester City fame coming close to the opener.
In the 10th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo came close to the first goal but the quick anticipation of goalkeeper Lawrence Ati Zigi saved Ghana from conceding.
That didn’t end as the Manchester United legend had another fine opportunity to break the deadlock in just a minute after but his header from Bruno Fernandez cross missed the pole.
Ghana begun to gather the pieces together. Reading FC defender Abdul Baba Rahman saw Inaki Williams running in space in the Portuguese eighteen yard box but his long range pass in the 15th minute couldn’t reach the Bilbao striker.
Immediately after that failed attempt, Ghana had a quick counterattack in the 17th minute but once again Baba Rahman’s long pass aimed at Inaki Williams was blocked by the Portuguese defenders.
In just 20 minutes of the first half, Portugal have accumulated a whopping 73 percent of the possession with Ghana doing most of the chasing.
Atletico Madrid youngster Joao Felix had an opportunity to give Portugal the opener in the 22nd minute but his strike from Bernardo Silva’s sumptuous pass went meters away from the Ghana goal post.
Ghana midfielder Abdul Salis Samed had the first yellow card of the game after fouling Bruno Fernandes.
In the 30th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo beautifully placed the ball pass goalkeeper Lawrence Ati Zigi but the goal was disallowed after fouling Ghana defender Alexander Djiku.
Otavio sent in a tricky cross but goalkeeper Lawrence Ati Zigi saved the situation for Ghana.
The first half ended goalless with Portugal dominating possession with 69 percent.
The UEFA Nations League champions returned from the recess to dominate the early minutes of the second half.
Ghana begun to make some incursions with Abdul Baba Rahman sending in a long ball into the eighteen yard box of Portugal that could have served as an opportunity for Andre Ayew but Ruben Dias managed to save the situation.
Ghana defender Alidu Seidu in the 51st minute sent in a long ball but the Portuguese defenders cleared the lines.
In the 54th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo had a glaring opportunity to give Portugal but the Ghanaian defenders salvaged the situation.
Ghana begun to knock the doors of the Portugal for the opener with Kudus Mohammed unleashing a thunderbolt strike in the 55th minute but goalkeeper Diego Costa saved the ball from entering his net.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos started throwing in more men by bringing in William Carvalho in the 55th minute.
Just a minute after the substitution, Cristiano Ronaldo netted the opener from the spot. This was after Mohammed Salisu fouled the Portuguese captain in the penalty box.
To save Ghana from going one man down after Alidu Seidu was booked for fouling Joao Felix, coach Otto Addo brought in Brighton defender Tariq Lamptey in the 65th minute.
After conceding, Ghana begun searching for the equaliser with Inaki Williams unleashing a sumptuous strike in the 66th minute but it got deflected and went straight to the hands of goalkeeper Diego Costa.
Ghana captain Andre Ayew snatched the parity for the Black Stars in the 72nd minute with Kudus Mohammed doing the assist.
Immediately after the goal, coach Otto Addo substituted Andre Ayew and Kudus Mohammed for Osman Bukari and Jordan Ayew.
Just after the changes, Joao Felix restored the lead for Portugal in the 77th minute kind courtesy a poor defending from Abdul Baba Rahman.
Two minutes after, a lost of concentration lead to the third goal for Portugal from AC Milan talisman Rafael Leao.
At this juncture, it was all over for Portugal but Ghana put themselves together to get the second consolation goal from Osman Bukari in the 88th minute by heading home a cross from Inaki Williams.
All of a sudden Ghana begun to pressuring Portugal for the equaliser in the dying embers of the game.
A mistake from goalkeeper Diego Costa nearly resulted to a goal but Inaki Williams couldn’t stand on his ground and the ball was cleared by the Portuguese defenders. The game ended 3:2 for Portugal.
Portugal currently lead the group H table with three points with Uruguay and South Korea having a point each while Ghana languish at the bottom with no point.
Ghana will take on South Korea in second game of the World Cup at the Education City Stadium on November 28, 2022.