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World Cup 2022: Ronaldo scripts history as Portugal register 3-2 win over Ghana in ill-tempered match match

Cristiano Ronaldo scripted World Cup history to help Portugal beat Ghana 3-2 in its opening Group H game at Stadium 974 on Thursday.

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 Cristiano Ronaldo
World Cup 2022: Cristiano Ronaldo scripts WC history as Portugal kick off campaign with 3-2 win over Ghana (AP Photo)

In Short

  • Portugal kicked off its Qatar 2022 campaign with a 3-2 win over Ghana
  • Ronaldo became the first player to score in five FIFA World Cups
  • Portugal survived nine minutes of stoppage time to win their opening game

By India Today Web Desk: Cristiano Ronaldo scripted World Cup history as Portugal kicked off its Qatar 2022 campaign with a nervy 3-2 win over Ghana in a thrilling Group H match at Stadium 974 on November 24.

Ronaldo was looking to show off his skills to potential new clubs after his contract at Manchester United expired this week. After squandering two good chances in the first half, he was brought down by Ghana defender Mohammed Salisu, earning a penalty.

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A smiling Ronaldo wheeled away after the ball hit the back of the net, performing his trademark leap and swivel in the air - the crowd roared his trademark "SI-UUUU" as he did the pirouette - before being mobbed by teammates.

With his 65th-minute penalty in Thursday's 3-2 win over Ghana, Ronaldo became the first male player to score in five World Cups and gave Portugal a 1-0 lead over Ghana. Andre Ayew equalised in the 73rd minute, giving Ghana's bank of fans at the 974 Stadium something to cheer about. Five minutes later, Joao Felix restored Portugal's lead, and Ronaldo then showed his class with a jinking run before sliding a pass to Rafael Leao, leaving Ghana stunned.

Osman Bukari pulled another one back for Ghana late on but Portugal survived nine minutes of stoppage time to win their opening game of a World Cup for the first time in their last four appearances, thanks to Osman Bukari's 89th-minute headed response.

Since his first World Cup goal in 2006, when he converted a penalty against Iran in the group stage, he has now scored in every tournament since. Ronaldo scored one goal at the South Africa 2010 World Cup, another at the Brazil 2014 World Cup, and four goals at the Russia 2018 World Cup. Ronaldo also extended his record for men's international goals, bringing it to 118.

Earlier, Portugal dominated Ghana but were unable to break through the first half despite Cristiano Ronaldo having the ball in the net and missing two early chances. Ronaldo might have had two goals inside the first 15 minutes, but he squandered both chances. In the 31st minute, after the referee had blown his whistle for an infringement against him, he scored from close range.

Bruno Fernandes set up the team's second and third goals with perfectly weighted through-balls and played a key role in Portugal's victory. Nonetheless, Portugal's players nearly threw it away after losing their composure in a chaotic final few minutes that included the amusing scene of Bukari performing Ronaldo's "SI-UUU" celebration after his goal. Portugal, who top the group with three points, next face Uruguay on Monday, when Ghana play South Korea.