The perfect party had Cristiano Ronaldo in the middle of the containers Stadium 974 from Qatar. The Portuguese, moved to tears in the anthem, scored a penalty (an offense that didn’t exist) the first of his team on hard courts and conceded 3-2 against Ghana in group H and thus remained in the history of the World Cup at the debut. the first and so far only player to convert in five editions of the most important football competition.
The 37-year-old star’s gaze sparkled as he sings the song of his homeland. It has been a difficult year for him, which moreover comes from the separation from Manchester United, conflicts and explosive declarations. But here, in Qatar, he took the right step at his premiere.
Most of the 42,662 people who filled the stands, with the exception of Ghanaian fans, went to see him. The star who is currently looking for a club has heard several cheers since stepping out to warm up. “Christian Ronaaaaaaldo!”the fans sang along to the song Seven Nation Army by the Whites Stripes.
It was just as difficult for him to settle into the match because his rival angered him with a five-man defense. Again and everything was close a few times. Positioned as centre-forward, in the 7th minute he fails to take advantage of a one-on-one that Lawrence Ati puts him in well in the first half. And he couldn’t even comfortably connect a header despite him climbing over half a length above his opponents.
The smiles will come for him after the break. Cristiano fell in the box after playing a ball with Mohammed Salisu and the referee automatically awarded a penalty. Ghana’s 4 punted the ball and asked for the game to be reviewed, but the VAR gave the go-ahead for Moroccan Ismail Elfath to decide.
Stood straight for the ball. He closed his eyes. Truce. He opened them and ended up with his instep to the right stick to seal his eighth goal at the World Cup. Which side scored? In 2006 in Iran, in 2010 in North Korea, in Ghana in 2014 just like this Thursday in Qatar and in 2018 he made three to Spain and one to Morocco.
In addition, increase his account as the top scorer of selections, with 118 in 189 appearances for the green and red shirt. A beast of goal.
Also, first of all it became a bit difficult during various periods of the game to follow the actions without head. Not out of wanting to mimic hitting the ball against a centre, but because the game in the first part was more about inducing sleep than staying entertained by what was happening on the grass in stadium 974, the most curious pitch of this World Cup since then has undoubtedly been built entirely of shipping containers (even the toilets and food stalls are).
It was approx a tactical bid in which Ghana closed the roads and Portugal had to hunt them down to find alternative routes and avoid rival pickets on the ground. The African 5-3-2 worked. He contained Ronaldo well and did not allow the Europeans to enter the area with danger.
While all the flashes went to Cristiano, it was the young Ghanaian Mohammed Kudus, 22, who shook off the drowsiness with a pair of colored hooks in the middle of the field. The Ajax player, introduced as inside left midfielder, was extremely mobile. It was he who, by speed and dynamics, commanded the counterattacks in the cast of Africa.
Indeed, in the second half, he sent a 30-metre run without anyone standing by him and shot close to goalkeeper Diogo Costa’s left post.
When Ghana seemed to have everything under control and was anything but suffering, the penalty arrived which was not a penalty and the Yup! of Cristiano. But the Portuguese joy didn’t last long as Kudus kept doing his thing. It was uncontrollable for the Portuguese defense.
The midfielder launched the internal diagonal to the left, received and put the center down. The ball went through Danilo Pereira’s legs and André Ayew scored an equalizer in the small area.
Portugal had an answer. Cristiano’s party would not be overshadowed. Curiously, the goal turned out to be played against Ghana, who lost all concentration up to that moment and in a flurry found themselves 3-1 down with goals from Joao Félix and Rafael Leao, both with an assist from Bruno Fernandes.
Everything that didn’t happen in that boring first half happened in that exciting complement. Ghana already discounted without Cristiano on the field with the scream of Osman Bukari. At the end of the excessive 9 minutes of added time, the blooper of the year has almost arrived: goalkeeper Costa who fell asleep and threw the ball forward without realizing that William was waiting for him to deceive him. Eventually, the African slipped and missed a draw that would have turned the world upside down. Everything was in great fear.
Cristiano Ronaldo breathed a sigh of relief, his great evening went well and ended well.
Doha, Qatar. Special delivery.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.