The talismanic forward’s goal in the early going was enough to separate the teams.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the star man for Portugal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ for the second match running, scoring the winner against Morocco at the Luzhniki Stadium to eliminate the North Africans. After his hat-trick heroics against Spain in his side’s opener claimed a single point, one goal was enough to secure all three today.
Morocco played their part in an enthralling match, their vociferous fans cheering their side on for consistent waves of attack against the stern Portuguese defence. Younes Belhanda came closest for the Atlas Lions, but his header was superbly kept out by Rui Patricio.
In the end, it was a decisive header from Ronaldo that claimed the win, his strike coming after just four minutes. Portugal will come up against a familiar face in Carlos Queiroz in their final Group B fixture, while Morocco will have purely pride to play for when they face Spain.
Team Reporter Analysis
Raquel Branco (Portugal)
Portugal’s first half was much more impressive than their second, not only for the Cristiano Ronaldo goal but for the fact that Fernando Santos‘s side applied more pressure to Morocco. The continuous Morocco pressing on the Portuguese midfield meant some difficulties for A Seleção das Quinas. Rui Patricio put in a superlative performance, with some great saves that helped secure the victory.
Zineb El Houari (Egypt)
Morocco will leave the Luzhniki with plenty of regret. They created plenty of opportunities without scoring, due to their lack of cutting edge up front. Renard’s 4-3-3 tactic saw plenty of attacking threat, but placing Achraf Hakimi in an unfamiliar left-sided role ultimately proved costly with the Portuguese goal coming from that side. In the end, Portugal took revenge on Morocco for their victory at Mexico 1986.
Man of the Match
Cristiano Ronaldo – While there was no repeat of his stellar showing against Spain, Ronaldo’s opener was the difference between the sides in Moscow, while also sending him back to the head of the top scorers table.
85 international goals for Cristiano Ronaldo is a new record for a European player, with Ronaldo passing Ferenc Puskas today to hold the record outright. He is now second on the all-time list of international goalscorers behind Ali Daei (109 goals).
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