Cristiano Ronaldo returns focus to field in historic game vs. Ghana


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DOHA, Qatar — Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal survived one of the most entertaining games of the World Cup so far — just barely — but not before the superstar forward had some serious shade thrown his way.

Ronaldo put Portugal ahead in the second half against Ghana with a sweetly struck penalty kick. After Andre Ayew equalized for Ghana, Portugal struck twice in two minutes thanks to João Félix and sub Rafael Leão to seemingly put the Group H contest beyond reach.

However, Osman Bukhari not only headed home for Ghana to narrow the gap to 3-2, but celebrated by imitating Ronaldo’s iconic “Siu” leap into the air with his arms extended by his sides.

And the African squad, in the ninth of nine stoppage time minutes, almost scored what would have been a dramatic leveler. Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa placed the ball on the ground, not realizing Iñaki Williams was behind him. After claiming the ball, Williams slipped, and his tame shot was cleared off the line.

Ghana almost ties game with Portugal

In a wild finish, Portugal’s goalkeeper Diogo Costa makes a late-game miscue.

Ronaldo’s penalty made him the first player to score in five World Cups. He was on the field for the first time since the explosive interview that led to his eventual departure from Manchester United

He had won the penalty, too, having been fouled in the area by Mohammed Salisu. The strike pushed him past Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose, all of whom scored in four separate World Cups.

Cristiano Ronaldo makes history

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score in five World Cups with a goal from the spot.

But there is still work to be done. While Ronaldo has scored eight times in the group stage of the World Cup, he has never done so in the knockout round. Portugal, the 2016 European champion, was eliminated in the group stage in 2014 and 2018.

Ronaldo has been front and center over the past week, his departure from United overshadowing Portugal’s preparation for the tournament.

However, this was another example of the 37-year-old’s ability to impact a game like few others — and proof that he remains regarded as one of the best on the planet for a reason.

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Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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