Portugal began their campaign in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at Stadium 974, beating Ghana 3-2 in a game that went into half time 0-0.
Ghana entered the World Cup finals off the back of a terrible African Cup of Nations campaign, finishing bottom of their group and suffering a humiliation at the hands of Comoros along the way.
Ghana lined up in a defensive 5-3-2 formation, while Portugal started 4-3-3, dominating from early on. Just nine minutes in, Ghana goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi got caught up in a one-on-one with Cristiano Ronaldo, but was quick off his line to deny him, diving at the Portuguese captain’s feet to claim the ball.
Half an hour into the first half, Sequeira passed the ball to Ronaldo, who produced a wonderful finish, but it was immediately ruled out for a foul on Alexander Djiku.
Half time came around slowly, with very little excitement on the pitch. Portugal really struggled to get into the game during the first 45 minutes, and Ghana had yet to have so much as a touch in the Portugal box. Only once before in the history of the tournament has a team failed to have a touch in the opposing box during the first half, when Saudi Arabia took on France in 1998 - somewhat different to their World Cup experience in this edition of the tournament so far.
The second half got underway and Muhammed Kudus produced Ghana’s first attempt on goal as he shot from distance, sending the ball wide. Soon after, Ronaldo went down in the box, challenged by Mohammed Salisu and the referee pointed to the spot. Naturally, Ronaldo stepped up and tucked the penalty away behind Ati-Zigi, becoming the first player in history to score at five World Cups.
Ghana’s Kudus responded by getting a shot on target, saved by Diego Costa, before Al Sadd’s Andre Ayew prodded home a Kudus cross, putting his side back on an even keel.
It didn’t last long though, as Otto Addo inexplicably subbed off both men involved in the equaliser, and seconds later Portugal’s Felix lifted the ball over Ati-Zigi to retake the lead, before Rafael Leao went on to stretch their lead even further.
With just a minute of normal time left, Portugal made a triple substitution and an unmarked Osman Bukari converted a beautiful cross from the left, heading it home at the far post.
Nine minutes added time were announced, allowing time for both sides to have a couple of attempts on goal, but the final whistle blew and the game, very much of two halves, ended 3-2 to Portugal.