FIFA World Cup 2022: Portugal escapes a scare against a spirited Ghanaian unit
Despite their splendid efforts, it wasn’t meant to be for Ghana on the day, who surrendered three points to three lethal finishes from the Portuguese forwards, while they could manage just two. The scoreline of 3-2 pretty much sums up the game, while there wasn’t much separating both sides, Ghana will repent over the missed chances.
The first half saw next to no major action. Portugal had a better share of the possession when compared to their African opponents but they found it difficult to penetrate through their defense. No goals were scored in the first 45 minutes and both sides went into the half-time break with the game still wide.
Mohammed Kudus’s blistering pace offered Ghana a sight at goal early on in the half, but the midfielder skewed his shot wide after covering a lot of distance with the ball all by himself. The breakthrough moment arrived soon, but it did for the Portuguese in the form of a penalty.
Joao Felix tried to find Cristiano Ronaldo inside the box with a through ball but Southampton defender Mohamed Salisu’s collision with Portugal’s No. 7 was deemed a foul. Ronaldo stepped up himself to take the penalty and by thundering it into the net, he became the first player in the tournament’s history to have scored at five editions of the World Cup.
Ghana did not take long to respond and once again, it was Kudus in the action for the African unit. He made a brilliant run into the box and found himself in great space and played a delightful ball into Jordan Ayew, who just tapped in from close range.
Fernando Santos decided to answer this with more blood and brought Raphael Leao in place of Ruben Neves. The AC Milan player was heavily involved in the build-up to Joao Felix’s brilliant goal and followed it up with a terrific finish himself, all in a span of four minutes. The 2016 Euro champions took a two-goal lead.
A late scare through Osman Bukari’s goal made extra time a lot more nervy for the Portuguese fans. They nearly saw through it without much fuss, until a silly error from Diogo Costa nearly cost them two points, but the defenders came to his rescue. Portugal took three points in this pulsating contest in a quest for their first-ever title.