World Cup 2022: Ronaldo makes history in Portugal's thrilling win over Ghana

Doha, Qatar - Cristiano Ronaldo became the first man to score at five World Cups in Portugal's chaotic 3-2 win against Ghana in their Group H opener in Qatar on Thursday.

Cristiano Ronaldo (r.) does his trademark celebration after opening the scoring for Portugal against Ghana.
Cristiano Ronaldo (r.) does his trademark celebration after opening the scoring for Portugal against Ghana.  © REUTERS

Portugal now lead the group ahead of South Korea and Uruguay, who played out a goalless draw in the earlier game. Ghana sit bottom.

Ronaldo, who had a goal ruled out in the first half, has now scored in the 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, and 2022 editions of the tournament. The win also meant Portugal started the World Cup with a triumph for the first time since 2006 in Germany.

The European side dominated in the first half but were largely harmless and only broke the deadlock in the 65th minute, after what many are arguing was a dive. Ronaldo went down easily inside the box in a duel with Ghana's Mohammed Salisu and was awarded a penalty.

World Cup 2022: Iran ecstatic after incredibly dramatic win over Wales
Soccer World Cup 2022: Iran ecstatic after incredibly dramatic win over Wales

The 37-year-old – who is currently without a club after leaving Manchester United under a cloud – didn't miss his chance to write history.

Ghana, who were well-organized throughout the game, saw Mohammed Kudus from distance force Diogo Costa to make a superb save, but scored the first goal for an African nation in Qatar shortly after as they levelled through Andre Ayew in the 73rd.

But the celebrations of the Ghanaian fans didn't last long as João Felix put Portugal back in the lead just five minutes later and Rafael Leão added a third in the 80th, while Osman Bukari's effort for Ghana cut the deficit.

There was still time for even more drama: in the final seconds, Iñaki Williams had the chance to equalize after Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa rolled out the ball inside the box, clueless that the Athletic Bilbao striker was right behind him.

Williams slipped at the crucial moment, though, the Portuguese defense cleared the ball.

Ronaldo "proud" of yet another record

Ghana's Iñaki Williams (l.) slips at the crucial moment, just as he's about to steal the ball off Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa.
Ghana's Iñaki Williams (l.) slips at the crucial moment, just as he's about to steal the ball off Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa.  © REUTERS

Ronaldo, who was visibly emotional during the national anthem, had been taken off by that point and he looked on in horror, then relief.

After the game, he spoke to reporters, saying: "It was a beautiful moment. My fifth World Cup, we won. That was very important. The world record is something that makes me very proud."

"The 3-2 made no sense," Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. His side were "very organized" in the first half, but then "we conceded goals that came out of nowhere."

He added: "These are an important three points. I wasn't interested in a draw. One more victory and we can move ahead."

Cover photo: REUTERS

More on the topic Soccer: