Cristiano Ronaldo put his off field problems behind and helped Portugal to a nail biting 3-2 win and according to the former Manchester United striker it was an important win.
Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot to become the first man to score at five different world cups. The goal and result will be a welcome distraction from the off-field issues that has clouded Ronaldo’s build-up to the tournament.
Ronaldo darted off to the corner flag to perform his famous celebration, jumping and spinning round with ‘Siuuuu’ ringing around the stadium.
“It was a week that finishes the chapter, it’s closed. We won and I could help the team – the rest does not matter,” Ronaldo said after the game.
“This was a beautiful moment, my fifth World Cup.
“We won, we started with on our good foot and it is a very important win. The first match is crucial in these tournaments.”The first player to score goals at five World Cups, this makes me very proud.”
Ronaldo was given a standing ovation when replaced by Goncalo Ramos with three minutes remaining and watched on aghast as Ghana’s Osman Bukari scored for Ghana and performed his celebration.
Portugal boss Fernando Santo said: “One of the best players in the world, one of the best players ever.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is a phenomenon, a legend like many who have comes and gone before. In 50 years’ time, we will continue to speak about him.”
Ghana gave the Portugese some fright though. Andre Ayew equalised from close range.
But Portugal responded with two goals in two minutes to seal the points – Joao Felix converting a delightfully clipped finish and substitute Rafael Leao coolly stroking in just seconds after coming on.
Osman Bukhari headed in a late consolation for Ghana and there could have been real drama in the ninth minute of stoppage time.
Goalkeeper Diogo Costa put the ball down, seemingly unaware Inaki Williams was behind him, but after racing to intercept the ball, the Ghana forward slipped at the crucial moment and a scuffed shot was cleared off the line.
And there was a big smile in Ronaldo’s face when the referee blew the final whistle killing off every chance of a comeback by the Black Stars. With BBC reports