Welcome to Sportstar’s highlights of the Portugal vs Ghana FIFA World Cup Group H game. This was Nihit Sachdeva taking you through the action as it unfolded at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.
The final match of the day - a Group G fixture between five-time champion Brazil and Serbia - begins at 12:30AM IST. Follow the live blog here.
Portugal successfully runs down the clock as the final whistle is blown. A huge sigh of relief for Fernando Santos’ team which goes to the top of Group H.
Cross delivered from the left from Ghana but Costa gathers the ball. Costa does not realise there is Inaki Williams behind him as he keeps the ball down. Williams runs from behind and just about kicks the ball past the Portuguese keeper as the flag stays down but there is not enough power in the shot and Danilo clears it to the other half of the pitch.
Bukari with a long-range shot from the left of the Portugal box and sends it just over the bar.
Ramos goes down near the corner flag close to the Ghana box. Portugal trying to run down the clock.
Ghana pushing for the equaliser yet again. Pressure on the Portuguese backline. Unbelievable determination shown by Ghana.
NINE MINUTES OF STOPPAGE TIME. Inaki Williams receives a yellow card after a tussle with Danilo. The tempers are rising. Abdul Samed and Salisu are off. Kyereh and Semenyo subbed on for Ghana.
It’s 3-2 as the Ghana sub puts the ball past Costa. We have a thrilling finish on our hands.
Triple substitution for Portugal. Ronaldo, Felix and Bernardo come off. Mario, Palhinha and Ramos.
Stunning turnaround from Portugal. Ghana thought it was back in the game after Andre Ayew’s equaliser but the relief lasted barely five minutes.
Rafael Leao, three minutes after being subbed on for Neves, puts the ball at the back of the net after Fernandes releases him on the left wing.
Excellent work from Bruno Fernandes to track Felix’s run on the right. The Portuguese forward with a brilliant chip finish restores Portugal’s lead.
Double substitution for Ghana. Goal scorer Ayew and the assist provider Kudus both are off. Bukari and Jordan Ayew are on.
The Black Stars are fired up! Brilliant cut back from Kudus after Ghana stole the ball inside the Portugal half, Danilo failed to clear it and Ayew finished the move with a simple tap-in.
Kudus with a fantastic effort, again from the edge of the box and Costa is forced to make a save.
Ronaldo takes his overall World Cup goals tally to eight.
A historic goal for the Portuguese talisman as he becomes the first male player in history to score at five different World Cups. Ronaldo hits it to the right of Zigi and despite the Ghana goalkeeper guessing it right, beats him by sheer power of the kick.
PENALTY FOR PORTUGAL. Ronaldo goes down after a challenge from Salisu. Ghana feels it is a dive but the referee stands by his decision.
The match is past the hour-mark and it is still goalless.
Ghana gives away the ball cheaply at the edge of its box. Luckily for it, Bernardo Silva is unable to fully control it.
Seidu receives a yellow card for a foul on Felix. The Portuguese forward is still on the ground and Ghana players do not like it one bit. Seidu makes a head-to-head contact with Felix and receives a final warning.
Substitution for Portugal. Carvalho comes on for Otavio.
Kudus with a long-range effort and puts it just wide off Costa’s left post.
Costa comes well outside his box to clear the ball after seeing a Ghana player making the run.
Kudus wins a corner for Ghana as Cancelo blocks the cross and sends it behind.
Seidu puts in the cross from the right but it misses everyone. Baba tries to get to the end of it but it goes out for a Portugal throw-in.
Ghana with the ball inside the Portugal half. Inaki Wlliams tries to send the ball inside the box from the left but can’t.
Ghana tries to release Ayew past the Portuguese defence but the ball never reaches him. Moments later, Ayew receives a yellow card for a challenge on Otavio.
Seidu goes down after a foul from Otavio.
Otavio asks for a corner as he feels the ball went behind after a final touch from Partey on the left of the Ghana box. Goal kick it is though.
Second half begins! Portugal to play from right to left and Ghana from left to right. Fernando Santos’ side will be frustrated after having controlled the game for much of the first half without scoring.
End of first half. It is goalless. Ronaldo did have a goal disallowed though.
Two minutes of added time. First booking of the match and it is Kudus who receives the yellow card due to a challenge on Cancelo.
Cancelo drives the ball in from the right wing, it misses everyone before Guerreiro gets to it on the left. Cancelo back with the ball, puts it through for Otavio inside the box who mishits it and sends it over the bar.
Anxious few moments for Ghana as Portugal comes forward on the counter and Ronaldo finds himself with the ball inside the Ghana box. However, no harm done to the scoreline.
Abdul Samed with a lovely challenge to dispossess Otavio near the center line. Ghana takes the ball forward but nothing much comes from it.
Aerial ball for Bruno on the left wing but it has too much on it and goes out for a Ghana goal-kick.
Baba takes the corner kick for Ghana, Ronaldo clears it away and eventually, Portugal gets possession due to infringement by Ghana.
First corner of the match for Ghana. Kudus takes the corner kick, cleared by a Portugal player at the near post, another cross sent in and Bruno heads it behind to concede another corner.
Felix hits another shot from the edge of the box but it is a tame effort and Zigi gathers it easily.
Another set piece for Portugal. Bruno takes it, sends it in for Danilo but Ayew gets ahead and clears it away for a corner.
Ronaldo puts the ball in the back of the net but it is disallowed due to a foul on Djiku in the buildup! So close to history.
Foul by Abdul Samed on Bruno Fernandes as Portugal looks to hit Ghana on the counter. Set piece for Portugal.
Cancelo with the cross from the right wing finds Bernardo Silva near the far post inside the Ghana box who cuts it back for Felix at the centre. Felix goes for the shot with his left foot but sends it well above the bar.
Foul by Inaki Williams on Danilo near the center line. Free kick to Portugal.
Foul on Seidu by Joao Felix. The Ghana player goes down for a moment.
Kudus gets the ball in the Portugal half and tries to put Inaki Williams through but the Portugal defender marking him gets to it first.
Seidu’s foul on Guerreiro. Portugal controlling the ball and Ghana happy to let it do so.
Ghana’s last World Cup match, back in 2014, was a 1-2 loss to Portugal where Ronaldo had scored the winner. Will it be a different script this time?
Guerrero with the ball inside the Ghana box tries to cut it back for Ronaldo from the left but Djiku makes a perfect block to concede a corner. Ronaldo misses the header at the far post following the corner.
Ghana loses possession close to its own box. Ronaldo finds himself in a one-on-one situation with Zigi, Ghana’s keeper who does well to save any potential attempt.
Djiku makes a run down the right win before sending the cross in. However, Costa gathers the ball before Inaki Williams could reach to it.
Joao Felix with a solo run from the left into the Ghana box but loses possession due to lack of support.
Cancelo takes the corner kick. Ghana defence clears it, Otavio receives the ball at the edge of the box and goes for the long ranger but sends it wide.
Cautious start from both sides. Portugal with the majority of possession. Early corner for Ronaldo’s team courtesy of Leao.
Ronaldo commits an early foul.
Match kicks off! Portugal, in red, plays from left to right while Ghana, in white, from right to left.
9:24PM IST - The two teams walk out on to the pitch for the national anthems. In case you missed it, here’s a look at the starting lineups one final time before live action begins:
Tonight will also be a special occasion for Bruno Fernandes - the Portuguese midfielder will make his 50th international appearance.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s fifth World Cup campaign begins in exactly half an hour!
Ghana returns to World Cup after eight years - It will be its fourth appearance at the showpiece event but for the first time, the Black Stars will play without Asamoah Gyan, the scorer of six of its 13 World Cup goals.
Welcome back to World Cup football, Ghana fans!
Records on offer for Cristiano Ronaldo
- ⦿ He could become the first-ever player to score at five World Cups
- ⦿ He could also became the second-oldest goal scorer at World Cup at the age of 37 years
Form Guide: Portugal - WLWLW, Ghana - LWLWW
Calm before the storm - Stadium 974, venue of the match.
PREVIEW (via Reuters)
Portugal will be keen to let its football do the talking when it faces Ghana in its World Cup opener on Thursday amid controversy over Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments about Manchester United and tensions between the squad and the media.
Euro 2016 champion Portugal hammered Nigeria 4-0 in its last warm-up match before flying to Qatar, offering some encouragement to its fans after a poor run of form.
But Ghana - which reached the World Cup quarterfinals in 2010 - arrived on the Arabian Peninsula with wind in its sails too after beating Switzerland 2-0 in a friendly.
The match at the 974 Stadium in Doha gives the sides the chance to lay down an early marker in Group H, which also includes Uruguay and South Korea.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos has come under pressure from local media and fans following recent disappointments - including a last-16 Euros exit last year.
There is also talk of tension in the squad and worries among fans that the team is too focused on serving captain Ronaldo, who at 37 is past his prime.
“The environment in the changing room is excellent. No problems,” five-times Ballon D’Or winner Ronaldo said on Monday. “The group is shielded. And I take this opportunity to say: stop asking about me.” But the chances of Ronaldo stepping out of the spotlight look slim in the wake of an explosive TV interview in which he said he had been betrayed by Manchester United, prompting speculation that he will soon leave the club.
He led Portugal to triumph at Euro 2016 but World Cup glory has eluded him and Qatar represents his last chance.
Some fans say the time has already come for Ronaldo to step aside and let talent such as fellow Manchester United players Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot and Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo take centre stage.
Lining up against them for Ghana are likely to be Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey, Leicester City defender Daniel Amartey and Athletic Bilbao striker Inaki Williams.
Coach Otto Addo, Ghana’s third manager in 12 months, has sought to rebuild the team after a disastrous showing at the Cup of Nations in early 2022, bringing in more European-born players such as Brighton & Hove Albion wingback Tariq Lamptey.
But his plans suffered a setback when both of his leading goalkeepers suffered injuries, meaning third-choice Lawrence Ati-Zigi, who plays at St Gallen in Switzerland, will be entrusted to keep out Ronaldo and his colleagues on Thursday.
The teams met at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when Portugal won 2-1 thanks to a late winner by Ronaldo.