World Cup: Portugal stifle late comeback to defeat Ghana 3-2

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Portugal managed to stifle a comeback after Ghana played out a thrilling 3-2 encounter on Thursday their World Cup opener at the Rass Abou Aboud Stadium in Qatar.

Despite a tumultuous week off the pitch, Cristiano Ronaldo started for Portugal and captained the side as they aimed to start their campaign off with a win.

It was the unattached striker who had the best chance early on as he bared down on goal but a poor touch saw the Ghanaian goalkeeper smother the ball.

Otto Addo’s side were sticking to their game plan of sitting deep and allowing Portugal the ball, and with nearly 20 minutes gone it was working a charm.

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Portugal thought they had scored on the half-hour mark but Ronaldo’s finish was disallowed after the referee saw a foul in the build-up.

Ghana attempted to rally a proactive effort going forward in the second half, however, the Black Stars struggled to show any real quality in the final third.

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Ghana finally did have a shot on goal, through Mohammed Kudus, but the midfielder’s fine daisy-cutter went just wide of the right-hand post.

And in the 64th minute, Portugal had their chance to take the lead. A controversial penalty was handed to 5-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and the ex-Man United striker blasted home from 12 yards.

Shortly after, an inspired Ghana got an equaliser. Andre Ayew was in the right place at the right time and tapped home from a close range after a cross from the left.

Portugal, however, took the lead again shortly after, injecting more life into the tie.

Joao Felix was played in by Bruno Fernandes and the Atletico Madrid striker finished cooly from inside the area.

Just moments later, Rafael Leão made it 3-1. Leão had only been on the pitch for less than 3 minutes before he latched on to a Bruno Fernandes pass and calmly slotted home.

However, Ghana looked far from finished as Osman Bukari headed in at the far post to pull one back with one minute of normal time remaining.

Portugal managed to hold on to their lead, surviving a sneaky last-minute attempt from Inaki Williams, who stood behind Diogo Costa as the Portugal goalkeeper attempted to make a long kick after a thwarted goal chance.