Cristiano Ronaldo strikes as Portugal start World Cup with frantic 3-2 win over Ghana


Cristiano Ronaldo moved on from his acrimonious Manchester United exit by inspiring Portugal’s opening World Cup win over Ghana in Doha on Friday (NZ time).

Portugal beat the Ghanaians 3-2 in group H after an action-packed second half which featured five goals in 24 frantic minutes.

The Portuguese captain scored the opening goal with a contentious spot kick in the 65th minute after he went down in the penalty box.

Ghana’s Mohammed Salisu made the challenge, and while the contact was minimal, American referee Ismail Elfath awarded the penalty.

VAR reviewed the incident but stayed with the referee’s decision and the superstar forward buried the chance.

With that strike, the 37-year-old made history by becoming the first player to score at five different World Cups – in 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring Portugal’s opening goal in their win over Ghana.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring Portugal’s opening goal in their win over Ghana.

Ghana equalised eight minutes later, when captain André Ayew tapped in from a cross that landed kindly at his feet.

But João Félix soon restored Portugal’s lead with a tidy finish after a sweeping attack.

Another counter-attack doubled their advantage and substitute Rafael Leão’s sublime finish from Bruno Fernandes’ perfectly timed pass seemingly ended Ghana’s hopes.

Osman Bukari’s strike for Ghana in the 89th minute ensured there was a tense finish, with nine minutes of additional time, but Portugal held on.

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