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World Cup - Brazil 2014

Thursday, 26 June 2014,

Portugal
2
-
Full Time
Live
-
1
Ghana
  • Kickoff: 17:00 BST
  • Stadium: Nacional
  • Referee: -
  • Stadium: Nacional
  • Attendance: 67,540
  • 30' John Boye - og
  • 80' Cristiano Ronaldo
  • 57' Asamoah Gyan

Portugal

Half time

Full time

Ghana

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Portugal v Ghana: 50-50 Challenge

What's at stake?

Simon Curtis: As far as progress in the 2014 World Cup is concerned, very little. But in the big picture, a lot. Those of the Portuguese camp who have appeared before the media since the United States game have cut pretty demoralised figures. This is a fixture that has little historical meaning, but it may well have huge repercussions for the immediate future of Portuguese international football and the people representing it in Brazil. If Ghana win, expect the unrest that is already beginning to grumble through the bowels of the Portuguese sports media to gather both shape and momentum. Head coach Paulo Bento is on pretty thin ice no matter what happens, and an aging squad needs wholesale changes before the Euro 2016 qualifiers begin with a home game versus Albania in September. Therefore, careers are at stake.

Fiifi Anaman:  Everything. This game's importance cannot be overemphasized. Both Ghana and Portugal are still in with a chance of qualifying, despite the fact that these chances are incredibly slim. But, in order to pull a miraculous escape from elimination, both teams know that winning is an absolute must. Both teams could decide to give up based on the fact that the ball is in the court of the United States and Germany, who can afford a draw that will mutually benefit them. But they cannot afford to think about another battle. They can only focus on overcoming theirs and doing their part.

X factor

SC: At last William Carvalho's time must have come. Portugal, decimated by injuries and worn down by poor form, will surely have to stir things up for this game. The big Sporting youngster played a full and successful part in the second half versus the U.S., misplacing only one pass while on the field, a sobering contrast to his teammates' general profligacy, it has to be said. Carvalho can hold, fend off and set up in equal measures, all qualities lacking in Portugal's opening two games, where passes often went askew and possession frequently ended up being handed back cheaply to the opponent. Against the swift interchanging of passes that Ghana perpetrate, a strong running midfield will be essential, held together by the towering Carvalho.

FA: Christian Atsu. The Chelsea winger -- who was named player of the season on loan at Dutch club Vitesse -- has been impressive in Ghana's first two games with his pace and trickery down the wings offering a lot of credible threat. Atsu will be key for Ghana because he spent the formative years of his football career in Portugal, playing at giants FC Porto and at one point on loan at Rio Ave. His knowledge of the Portuguese game coupled with his undoubted talent should give Ghana an edge.

Fear factor

SC: This will come in the shape of the dynamic André Ayew, who is enjoying a fabulously energetic World Cup. Just watching the physical input that the likes of Ayew and young Christian Atsu put into their work makes you want to sit down for a cup of water. Already the scorer of two goals, coming in from the flanks with searing speed, he is a danger both in his own right and in his ability to play the more central figure of Asamoah Gyan in through the middle. With João Pereira exhibiting less than top form on the right side of Portugal's depleted defence, Ayew may well reap rich rewards if not watched extremely closely.

FA: It is hard to point out a single player from this Portuguese team as they have underwhelmed collectively so far in the tournament. But, it is hard to look past Cristiano Ronaldo, despite all his injury and fitness issues. The Ballon d'Or holder has had a tournament to forget, playing through the pain in an attempt to live up to massive expectations. But his delightful cross for that last-minute Silvestre Varela equalizer against the U.S. is very telling. What does it say? He can have one moment of brilliance that can have a devastating effect. He's not in the best of shape, but a player of his calibre is always capable of squeezing some magic through the obscurity.

Key battle

SC: As the only fit striker, Eder is set to get the nod up front for Portugal, and his battle with the Ghana central defensive duo may well turn out to be key. Portugal's two goals have come from wingers Nani and Silvestre Varela, and the central strikers have yet to notch a single goal. Ghana hardly suffer from a lack of height at the back (John Boye is 1m85; Jonathan Mensah 1m88), but of the four goals conceded so far, three can be said to have come about as a result of an aerial approach (Miroslav Klose's from a corner and Mario Goetze's from a high cross into the box for Germany and John Brooks from a corner for the U.S.). There are, thus, clear signs that they are ill at ease dealing with high balls into the box, and the lanky Portuguese striker might just be the right man in the right place this time round.

FA: Pepe vs. Asamoah Gyan. Pepe will return for Portugal after his red card against Germany in the opener, and he is expected to go all-out with his trademark bullishness against Ghana's most potent source of goals -- captain Asamoah Gyan. Gyan was limited by extremely close marking from German center back Mats Hummels and took a while to warm into Ghana's second game that ended 2-2 against Die Mannschaft in Fortaleza. Pepe will fancy his chances of keeping Gyan quiet, but Gyan is very smart and hard to deal with these days.

Prediction

SC: Portugal have disappointed greatly so far, and the mood in the camp does not really bode well for this clash, especially as Ghana have more realistic chances of progressing and will thus fight for every ball. Ghana 2, Portugal 1.

FAGhana 2, Portugal 0. The Ghanaian team's preparation for this game has been rocked by player dissatisfaction regarding unpaid appearance fees and other petty issues that have threatened to derail their focus, but head coach Kwesi Appiah's team have a knack for rising up to the occasion when least expected.

91'+5

Second Half ends, Portugal 2, Ghana 1.

91'+5

Attempt missed. João Moutinho (Portugal) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

91'+4

Attempt missed. Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

91'+3

João Moutinho

91'+3

Foul by João Moutinho (Portugal).

91'+2

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Throw In at 93'

91'+2

Rúben Amorim (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 93'

91'+1

Attempt missed. Nani (Portugal) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by João Moutinho.

91'+1

João Moutinho (Portugal) Assists Shot at 92'

91'+1

João Moutinho (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 92'

91'+1

Attempt saved. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Silvestre Varela.

91'+1

Varela (Portugal) Assists Shot at 92'

91'

Attempt missed. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) left footed shot from very close range is too high. Assisted by Nani with a cross.

91'

Nani (Portugal) Assists Shot at 91'

91'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Throw In at 91'

91'

Vierinha (Portugal) Corner Kick at 91'

90'

Vierinha (Portugal) Throw In at 90'

89'

Attempt missed. Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jonathan Mensah following a set piece situation.

89'

Jonathan Mensah (Ghana) Assists Shot at 89'

89'

Jonathan Mensah (Ghana) Free Kick at 89'

89'

Substitution, Portugal. Eduardo replaces Beto because of an injury.

88'

Mubarak Wakaso (Ghana) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

88'

Jonathan Mensah (Ghana) Blocked Pass at 88'

88'

Attempt saved. Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Christian Atsu.

88'

Christian Atsu (Ghana) Assists Shot at 88'

88'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Throw In at 88'

87'

John Boye (Ghana) Blocked Pass at 87'

87'

Jonathan Mensah (Ghana) Throw In at 86'

86'

Mubarak Wakaso (Ghana) Free Kick at 86'

86'

Mubarak Wakaso (Ghana) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

86'

Christian Atsu (Ghana) Throw In at 86'

85'

Jonathan Mensah (Ghana) Free Kick at 85'

85'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

84'

Corner, Ghana. Conceded by Miguel Veloso.

84'

Attempt saved. Silvestre Varela (Portugal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Nani.

84'

Nani (Portugal) Assists Shot at 84'

83'

Attempt missed. Nani (Portugal) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Miguel Veloso with a cross following a corner.

83'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Assists Shot at 83'

83'

Corner, Portugal. Conceded by Harrison Afful.

82'

Attempt saved. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Miguel Veloso.

82'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Assists Shot at 82'

82'

Pepe (Portugal) Free Kick at 82'

82'

Substitution, Ghana. Mubarak Wakaso replaces André Ayew.

82'

Attempt missed. Mubarak Wakaso (Ghana) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

80'

2 - 1

Goal! Portugal 2, Ghana 1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

80'

Nani (Portugal) Throw In at 80'

80'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 80'

80'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 80'

79'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 79'

79'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Throw In at 79'

78'

Afriyie Acquah (Ghana) Free Kick at 78'

78'

Jordan Ayew

77'

Nani (Portugal) Throw In at 77'

77'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Blocked Pass at 77'

77'

Attempt missed. Emmanuel Badu (Ghana) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jordan Ayew.

77'

Jordan Ayew (Ghana) Assists Shot at 76'

76'

Attempt blocked. Jordan Ayew (Ghana) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Asamoah Gyan.

76'

Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) Assists Shot at 76'

76'

Substitution, Ghana. Afriyie Acquah replaces Mohammed Rabiu.

76'

Attempt missed. Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Harrison Afful with a cross.

76'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Assists Shot at 76'

75'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 75'

75'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Throw In at 75'

74'

Rúben Amorim (Portugal) Throw In at 74'

73'

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) Corner Kick at 73'

73'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 73'

72'

Mohammed Rabiu (Ghana) Blocked Pass at 72'

72'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 72'

72'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Throw In at 72'

71'

Substitution, Ghana. Jordan Ayew replaces Majeed Waris.

70'

Mohammed Rabiu (Ghana) Free Kick at 70'

70'

Foul by Nani (Portugal).

69'

Substitution, Portugal. Vieirinha replaces Eder.

69'

Attempt missed. Silvestre Varela (Portugal) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by João Moutinho.

69'

João Moutinho (Portugal) Assists Shot at 69'

68'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 68'

68'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 68'

68'

Attempt missed. Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

67'

Christian Atsu (Ghana) Free Kick at 67'

67'

Foul by Bruno Alves (Portugal).

67'

Fatawu Dauda (Ghana) Free Kick at 67'

66'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

66'

Attempt missed. Christian Atsu (Ghana) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

65'

Nani (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 65'

65'

João Moutinho (Portugal) Free Kick at 65'

65'

João Moutinho (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

65'

Fatawu Dauda (Ghana) Free Kick at 65'

64'

Foul by Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal).

64'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Throw In at 64'

64'

Varela (Portugal) Throw In at 64'

63'

Andre Ayew (Ghana) Blocked Pass at 63'

63'

Pepe (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 63'

62'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Throw In at 62'

62'

Nani (Portugal) Free Kick at 62'

62'

Foul by Majeed Waris (Ghana).

62'

Substitution, Portugal. Silvestre Varela replaces João Pereira.

61'

Attempt missed. Majeed Waris (Ghana) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Asamoah Gyan with a cross.

61'

Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) Assists Shot at 61'

60'

Beto (Portugal) Free Kick at 60'

60'

Pepe (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

60'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Free Kick at 60'

59'

Foul by William Carvalho (Portugal).

59'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Throw In at 59'

59'

Pepe (Portugal) Free Kick at 59'

59'

Christian Atsu (Ghana) Throw In at 59'

58'

Attempt blocked. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) right footed shot from long range on the left is blocked. Assisted by Miguel Veloso.

58'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Assists Shot at 58'

58'

João Moutinho (Portugal) Corner Kick at 58'

57'

1 - 1

Goal! Portugal 1, Ghana 1. Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kwadwo Asamoah with a cross.

57'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Assists Shot at 57'

56'

Beto (Portugal) Free Kick at 56'

55'

Majeed Waris

55'

Pepe (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

55'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 55'

55'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 55'

55'

Nani (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 55'

54'

Attempt blocked. Nani (Portugal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

53'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Throw In at 53'

53'

John Boye (Ghana) Blocked Pass at 53'

53'

João Pereira (Portugal) Free Kick at 53'

53'

Foul by Mohammed Rabiu (Ghana).

52'

João Pereira (Portugal) Throw In at 52'

51'

Attempt missed. Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Kwadwo Asamoah.

51'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Assists Shot at 51'

50'

Mohammed Rabiu (Ghana) Free Kick at 50'

50'

Foul by William Carvalho (Portugal).

50'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Throw In at 50'

50'

William (Portugal) Free Kick at 50'

50'

William Carvalho (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

49'

Mohammed Rabiu (Ghana) Blocked Pass at 49'

49'

Andre Ayew (Ghana) Free Kick at 49'

49'

Majeed Waris (Ghana) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

48'

Attempt blocked. Nani (Portugal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Rubén Amorim.

48'

Rúben Amorim (Portugal) Assists Shot at 48'

48'

João Moutinho (Portugal) Corner Kick at 48'

48'

Corner, Portugal. Conceded by John Boye.

48'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Throw In at 48'

47'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 47'

47'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 47'

47'

Jonathan Mensah (Ghana) Free Kick at 47'

47'

Majeed Waris (Ghana) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

46'

Mohammed Rabiu (Ghana) Blocked Pass at 46'

46'

Start 2nd Half

46'

Halftime

46'

Nani (Portugal) Corner Kick at 46'

45'

Andre Ayew (Ghana) Throw In at 45'

44'

Attempt missed. Nani (Portugal) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Eder.

44'

Éder (Portugal) Assists Shot at 44'

44'

Éder (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 44'

44'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 44'

43'

Christian Atsu (Ghana) Throw In at 43'

42'

Bruno Alves (Portugal) Free Kick at 42'

41'

Offside, Ghana. André Ayew tries a through ball, but Asamoah Gyan is caught offside.

41'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Throw In at 41'

40'

Rúben Amorim (Portugal) Free Kick at 40'

40'

Foul by Harrison Afful (Ghana).

40'

Attempt missed. Christian Atsu (Ghana) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Asamoah Gyan.

40'

Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) Assists Shot at 40'

39'

Pepe (Portugal) Free Kick at 39'

39'

Harrison Afful

39'

Foul by Harrison Afful (Ghana).

39'

João Pereira (Portugal) Free Kick at 39'

39'

Nani (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

39'

Nani (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 39'

38'

Bruno Alves (Portugal) Free Kick at 38'

38'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

37'

João Pereira (Portugal) Throw In at 37'

37'

Christian Atsu (Ghana) Blocked Pass at 37'

36'

Attempt missed. Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Christian Atsu with a cross.

36'

Christian Atsu (Ghana) Assists Shot at 36'

35'

Bruno Alves (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 35'

34'

Attempt missed. Rubén Amorim (Portugal) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Nani.

34'

Nani (Portugal) Assists Shot at 34'

34'

Majeed Waris (Ghana) Blocked Pass at 34'

32'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Throw In at 32'

32'

Attempt saved. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Nani.

32'

Nani (Portugal) Assists Shot at 32'

32'

Beto (Portugal) Free Kick at 32'

31'

Offside, Ghana. André Ayew tries a through ball, but Majeed Waris is caught offside.

30'

1 - 0

Own Goal by John Boye, Ghana. Portugal 1, Ghana 0.

29'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Throw In at 29'

28'

Corner, Ghana. Conceded by Bruno Alves.

27'

Jonathan Mensah (Ghana) Free Kick at 27'

27'

Foul by João Moutinho (Portugal).

27'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Throw In at 27'

26'

João Moutinho (Portugal) Free Kick at 26'

26'

Foul by Harrison Afful (Ghana).

26'

João Moutinho (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 26'

26'

Andre Ayew (Ghana) Throw In at 26'

25'

João Pereira (Portugal) Throw In at 25'

25'

Corner, Ghana. Conceded by João Moutinho.

24'

João Pereira (Portugal) Corner Kick at 24'

23'

Attempt saved. Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Kwadwo Asamoah with a cross.

23'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Assists Shot at 23'

23'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Free Kick at 23'

22'

Foul by William Carvalho (Portugal).

22'

Jonathan Mensah (Ghana) Free Kick at 22'

22'

John Boye (Ghana) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

21'

João Moutinho (Portugal) Free Kick at 21'

21'

João Moutinho (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

20'

Attempt missed. Eder (Portugal) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Miguel Veloso with a cross.

20'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Assists Shot at 20'

20'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Throw In at 20'

20'

Attempt saved. Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by John Boye.

20'

John Boye (Ghana) Assists Shot at 20'

20'

Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Ghana) Free Kick at 20'

19'

Majeed Waris (Ghana) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

19'

Rúben Amorim (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 19'

19'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Throw In at 19'

19'

Attempt saved. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by João Pereira with a cross.

19'

João Pereira (Portugal) Assists Shot at 19'

18'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Free Kick at 18'

18'

Foul by Bruno Alves (Portugal).

18'

Rúben Amorim (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 18'

16'

Andre Ayew (Ghana) Throw In at 16'

16'

Miguel Veloso (Portugal) Free Kick at 16'

16'

Rubén Amorim (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

16'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 16'

15'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Free Kick at 15'

15'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

15'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 15'

15'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 15'

14'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Throw In at 14'

13'

Nani (Portugal) Throw In at 13'

12'

Corner, Portugal. Conceded by Fatau Dauda.

12'

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) Corner Kick at 12'

12'

Attempt saved. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

11'

João Moutinho (Portugal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

10'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Throw In at 10'

10'

Attempt blocked. Christian Atsu (Ghana) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

9'

Fatawu Dauda (Ghana) Free Kick at 9'

9'

Foul by João Moutinho (Portugal).

8'

Rúben Amorim (Portugal) Free Kick at 8'

8'

Foul by John Boye (Ghana).

7'

João Pereira (Portugal) Free Kick at 7'

7'

João Pereira (Portugal) wins a free kick on the right wing.

6'

Fatawu Dauda (Ghana) Free Kick at 6'

6'

Hand ball by João Moutinho (Portugal).

6'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 6'

4'

Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) Throw In at 4'

4'

Nani (Portugal) Blocked Pass at 4'

4'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 4'

3'

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) Throw In at 3'

3'

João Pereira (Portugal) Throw In at 3'

2'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 2'

2'

Harrison Afful (Ghana) Throw In at 2'

1'

First Half begins.

Show all commentary

Possession

58%
42%
  • Portugal
  • Ghana

Shots

18
17

Shots on target

7
4

Fouls

21
16

Corners

7
4

Yellow Cards

1
3

Red Cards

0
0

Portugal

USA2 - 2Portugal
Germany4 - 0Portugal
Rep Ireland1 - 5Portugal
Mexico0 - 1Portugal
Portugal0 - 0Greece
Portugal5 - 1Cameroon

Ghana

Germany2 - 2Ghana
Ghana1 - 2USA
Ghana4 - 0South Korea
Netherlands1 - 0Ghana
Montenegro1 - 0Ghana
Japan3 - 1Ghana

Portugal

  • 22Beto
  • -> Eduardo
  • 4Miguel Veloso
  • 2Bruno Alves
  • 3Pepe
  • 21João Pereira
  • -> Varela
  • 20Rúben Amorim
  • 8João Moutinho
  • 11Éder
  • -> Vierinha
  • 6William
  • 17Nani
  • 7Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Subs
  • 14Luis Neto
  • 13Ricardo Costa
  • 15Rafa
  • 16Raul Meireles

Ghana

  • 16Fatawu Dauda
  • 19Jonathan Mensah
  • 20Kwadwo Asamoah
  • 23Harrison Afful
  • 21John Boye
  • 10Andre Ayew
  • -> Mubarak Wakaso
  • 7Christian Atsu
  • 18Majeed Waris
  • -> Jordan Ayew
  • 8Emmanuel Agyemang Badu
  • 17Mohammed Rabiu
  • -> Afriyie Acquah
  • 3Asamoah Gyan
  • Subs
  • 15Mohammed Awal
  • 5Michael Essien
  • 4Daniel Opare
  • 2Samuel Inkoom
  • 14Albert Adomah
  • 12Adam Kwarasey
  • 1Stephen Adams

Ronaldo goal not enough for Portugal

A 2-1 victory over Ghana was not enough to save Portugal's World Cup campaign as their target of a top-two finish in Group G and a place in the knockout stages fell short.

An own goal from John Boye and a second-half Cristiano Ronaldo strike set Paolo Bento's men on their way to the win they needed, but although United States were beaten by Germany in the other group match, Portugal were kept out of the qualification spots on goal difference -- largely because of the 4-0 rout they suffered to the Germans earlier in their first game.

Ghana's hopes of advancing were also ended -- with Asamoah Gyan scoring their reply in Brasilia -- to cap a day to forget for the Africans, who had thrown key midfielders Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng out of the squad just hours before kick-off for disciplinary reasons.

Despite their World Cup fate being largely out of their hands, Portugal were determined to get the win they needed to keep their slim hopes alive and were unlucky not to be in front after five minutes when Ronaldo pumped in a cross-shot from the right wing which rattled the crossbar.

The Real Madrid star threatened again seven minutes later from a free-kick which was lifted over the wall but punched away by Ghana goalkeeper Fatau Dauda.

Ghana responded by launching a couple of attacks of their own but attempts to get the ball to dangerman Gyan were dealt with by the Portuguese defence.

But it was Bento's men who seemed the more likely to score and another chance went begging for Ronaldo after 19 minutes, when his point-blank header from Joao Pereira's cross was bettered by a class save on the line from Dauda, which the Ghana goalkeeper saw fit to celebrate once the danger had been fully cleared.

Ghana immediately worked the ball down the other end, where Gyan's shot was kept out by Beto's feet. And the Portugal goalkeeper made another contribution minutes later, getting his hands to a header from Gyan after the former Sunderland striker met a free-kick from Kwadwo Asamoah.

However, Portugal eventually found the goal they wanted after 31 minutes, although it was a fortunate opener. Miguel Veloso was the creator, whipping in a cross from the left which bounced horribly for Boye and resulted in the defender diverting into his own net.

Ghana responded to the challenge, with Christian Atsu's assist headed past the right post by Gyan before Atsu himself tried a curling effort from the left side of the area which fell just wide of the far post as the Africans sought an equaliser.

Yet it was Boye who almost added to his tally on the stroke of half-time, a goal which would have extended Portugal's lead as the Rennes defender sliced a ball into the area from Nani narrowly over the bar.

The Africans came out a stronger force after the interval and were finally level after 57 minutes thanks to a fantastic ball in from Asamoah, with the Juventus midfielder using the outside of his left boot to thump in a pass which Gyan finished with a neat header.

The goal was Gyan's sixth in World Cup finals and saw him become the all-time leading African goalscorer in the tournament, passing the previous mark set by Cameroon's Roger Milla.

Portugal were beginning to look vulnerable and better finishing from an unmarked Abdul Waris would have put Ghana in front shortly after the hour, but the forward failed to make the most of a floated cross in from Gyan and directed his header past the right post.

Instead it was Portugal who took the lead 10 minutes from time. Again luck was on their side as Nani's cross was headed high into the air by Jonathan Mensah, with Dauda flapping at the ball and pushing it straight into the path of Ronaldo, who slammed home for his first goal in Brazil.

Portugal and Ronaldo should have added to their total, but the world played of the year was denied twice by Dauda and also turned Nani's assist over the top of the net as the opening rout to Germany proved their undoing.


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