Cristiano Ronaldo, shown celebrating a goal at the 2018 World Cup, celebrated scores in five world championships. (Leonel de Castro/Global Images/Sipa USA via USA TODAY Sports)
Cristiano Ronaldo, who departed Manchester United earlier in the week, became the first men’s player to score in five World Cups on Thursday.
Ronaldo converted a penalty kick to start Portugal to a wild 3-2 victory over Ghana in a Group G game at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.
After a scoreless first half, the match turned into a wild finish with all five goals being scored during a 24-minute stretch in the final period. Ghana almost equalized in the waning seconds of stoppage time on a Portugal defensive error by goalkeeper Diogo Costa, but the European team managed to clear the ball off the goal line.
The striker had a couple of near misses prior to the penalty as the call appeared to be a soft foul by Mohammed Salisu but Ronaldo wasn’t complaining. He then drilled his attempt to the left side past a diving goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi to boost the Portuguese into a 1-0 lead.
It was the eighth WC career goal for the 37-year-old Ronaldo, who is showcasing his finishing ability to clubs on several continents.
Ronaldo also celebrated scores at the 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 competitions. Ronaldo also has struck for 118 international goals.
Ghana, however, never went away and never said die. The African side equalized on Andre Ayew ‘s goal in the 73rd minute before the Portuguese exploded for two goals within two minutes to pull away.
First, Joao Felix boosted the Portuguese into the lead in the 78th minute before Rafael Leao gave his team some much-needed breathing room in the 80th minute.
The Ghanaians made Portuguese sweat in the 89th minute as Osman Bukari cut the margin to 3-2.