2022 World Cup: Ghana 2 – 3 Portugal – Black Stars suffer defeat in opener to A Seleção


Ghana’s Black Stars suffered their first defeat of the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar on Thursday evening against the Selacao of Portugal in Group H.

Ghana started the game on a very good note, keeping their defense in shape and giving the Portuguese very little in terms of chances in from of of goal in a half the Europeans dominated.

Ghana were the second best team in the first 45 minutes of the match as the Portuguese dominated the Flamboyant European side with over 70 percent of possession.

Portugal came through on goal when Cristiano Ronaldo was put on goal but Ghana goalie Lawrence Ati-Zigi came out to prevent the Super star from hitting the back of the net.

The Portuguese captain thought he had scored the first goal of the match when he found the back of the net for his team only for the referee to whistle for an earlier foul.

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score in five World Cups as Portugal finally saw off Ghana to open Group H with a win in a five-goal thriller.

Portugal took control of the match from the first whistle, and nearly turned their early dominance of possession into a tangible reward, Ronaldo being behind by Lawrence Ati-Zigi before heading wide at the far post moments later.

The ball was in the Ghana net just past the half-hour, a typically assured Ronaldo finish, but the Portugal captain was adjudged to have fouled Alexander Djiku as he span on the ball and the strike was ruled out.

Portugal continued to toil into the second half but out of the blue they were handed a golden opportunity as Ronaldo was felled by Mohammed Salisu and stepped up to smash in his 118th international goal from the spot.

Ghana responded strongly, however, Kudus stinging the palms of Diogo Costa before getting away down the left and delivering a low cross that deflected off Danilo Pereira and fell perfectly for Andrew Ayew to turn in from close range.

This time it was Portugal’s turn to find an answer, and they duly struck twice in three minutes. Bruno Fernandes was the architect of both, slipping passes through the Ghana defence for assured finishes from first Joao Felix and then Rafael Leao, the latter’s first international goal.

Ghana did have renewed hope when Osman Bukari headed them back into it in the 89th minute, and they almost snatched an unlikely draw when Inaki Williams cleverly caught out Diogo Costa in the final seconds only to slip at the crucial moment as he tried to nip in ahead of the goalkeeper.

On Monday, the Black Stars return to action with a clash against the Asian powerhouse South Korea at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.

1-0 Ronaldo 65′ penalty
1-1 A. Ayew 73′
2-1 Joao Felix 78′
3-1 Rafael Leao 80′
3-2 Bukari 89′

Starting lineups:

Portugal (4-1-2-1-2, right to left): 22. Costa (GK) — 20. Cancelo, 4. Dias, 13. Danilo Pereira, 5. Guerreiro — 18. Neves (Rafael Leao 77′) — 8. Fernandes, 25. Otavio (14. William Carvalho 56′) — 10. Bernardo Silva (6. Joao Palhinha 88′) — 7. Ronaldo (26. Goncalo Ramos 88′), 11. Joao Felix (17. Joao Mario 88′)

Ghana (5-4-1, right to left): 1. Ati-Zigi (GK) — 26. Seidu (2. Lamptey 66′), 23. Djiku (25. Semenyo 90+2′), 18. Amartey, 4. Salisu, 17. Rahman — 20. Kudus (11. Bukari 77′), 5. Partey, 21. Abdul Samed (8. Kyereh 90+2′), 10. A. Ayew (9. J. Ayew 77′) — 19. Williams.

By: D. N. A. MENSAH, Daily Mail GH /Follow the writer @SkipperWrites on Twitter

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