Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo scored a controversial penalty in the 65th minute of Portugal’s opening Group H fixture against Ghana, making him the first player to score in five editions of the FIFA World Cup, having scored in the 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and now the 2022 edition of the global tournament.
Ghana’s head coach Otto Addo said the penalty converted by the veteran 37-year-old forward was the wrong decision and a gift to the Portuguese by the referee.
“If somebody scores a goal congratulations, but this was a gift,” said Addo, adding, “a special gift from the referee.”
André Ayew, the captain of the Black Stars equalized for the West African nation in the 73rd minute resulting from a cross by Netherlands-based midfielder Mohammed Kudus which allowed the 32-year-old veteran to score from the six-yard area.
The Black Stars made game changing decisions by bringing on Osman Bukari and Jordan Ayew in the 77th minute, a decision which was matched by the European side who brought on Rafael Leão.
Portugal’s La Liga based winger João Félix made it 2-1 for the European side in the 78th minute after midfielder Bruno Fernandes provided the 23-year-old winger with a through ball which allowed Félix to slot his effort over Ghana’s goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi.
The West African goalkeeper failed another test in the 80th minute after forward Rafael Leão made it 3-1 for the Portuguese and scored his first international goal from another assist by Fernandes.
Ghanaian substitute Osman Bukari made his presence felt in the opening fixture after he steered home a header into the top-right corner beating Diogo Costa and scoring the second goal for the Black Stars.
Bukari tried to level the match for the Black Stars in extra time after he curled a dangerous strike with his right foot towards goal but clipped the side netting.
Football analysts say the performance by Ghana in their opening fixture was momentous as it marked the first two goals scored by an African nation at the tournament so far.
Ghana is presently at the bottom of Group H resulting from their loss to Portugal and are scheduled to next face South Korea on November 28 and South American giants Uruguay on December 2.