While unable to secure qualification to the Round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Portugal has secured a 2-1 consolation victory over Ghana in their final Group G match at the Estadio Nacional de Brasilia this morning.
While go-to man Cristiano Ronaldo netted his first goal of the 2014 World Cup tournament, what turned out to be the winner, it was the host of missed opportunities that may have been to blame in Portugal’s inability to make up a poor goal difference and find passage through to the knockout stages; the United States instead claiming the position despite losing 1-0 to Germany.
Bursting from the gates, Portugal immediately took to the match to the African qualifiers, unlucky not to find the back of the net in several instances over the first half hour before Black Stars defender John Boye placed a particularly unfortunate touch on a Portuguese cross, sending the ball hurtling into Dauda’s goal.
Without star players Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari, who were sent home for disciplinary reasons, Ghana appeared to lack the competitive spark from their two World Cup openers but still offered a few good attacking counters prior to finding the break still 1-0 in the deficit.
Returning in the second half in far-greater form, Ghana launched an assault into the Portuguese sector from the opening whistle, with captain Asamoah Gyan leading from the front with an impressive shot from outside the 18-yard box which was unlucky not to meet its target.
Just prior to the hour mark, the inspirational captain left his mark on the match when heading home a pinpoint accurate cross from Kwadwo Asamoah, pegging the score at one a piece and registering as Africa’s most prolific goal scorer in World Cup history with six.
Less than five minutes later, Ghana were offered an exceptional chance to move ahead when Majeed Waris missed an open chance on goal when squandering an attempted header.
Continuing to lay the pressure, Ghana was delivered a killer blow just ten minutes from time when Black Stars keeper Dauda made a meal of a long-range save, palming the ball directly to the feet of Ronaldo who calmly converted.
Despite recording his 50th goal for his country, Ronaldo was noticeably upset following the final whistle as Portugal booked their ticket on the next flight home; failing to progress to a match with Group H champions Belgium in the Round of 16.