Groups G and H opened their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign on Thursday, with the latter featuring Uruguay and South Korea battling each other to a goalless stalemate while Portugal managed to edge out Ghana 3-2. A Selecao‘s win over the Black Stars was notable for being the match where Cristiano Ronaldo opened his 2022 World Cup account with a penalty, confirming his name in the history books as being the first player to score in five World Cup tournaments.
With Saudi Arabia and Japan already making Asia proud with wins over superior opponents in previous days, South Korea were looking for more of the same as they took on Uruguay at the Education City Stadium in Doha.
As expected, it was the Uruguayans – with Luis Suarez and Darwin Nunez in their starting lineup – who took charge of proceedings, however the South Americans were left frustrated by a disciplined South Korea side who failed to make their own chances count.
The first half saw South Korea controlling the game with talisman Son Heung-min leading the line, however as the game went on Uruguay began to stamp their presence, seeing 56% of the ball and outshooting the Taeguk Warriors by ten shots to seven.
Hwang Ui-jo was guilty for spurning South Korea’s best chance – blasting his shot above the crossbar in the first half, while Diego Godin struck the post with his header.
The introduction of Edinson Cavani brought more life to Uruguay’s attack and the South Americans applied more pressure on the South Korean defense, however the game remained on the balance all the way into injury time, where both Federico Valverde and Son squandered chances to win the game for their sides at the death.
Meanwhile at the Stadum 974, Ronaldo – who is set to leave Manchester United after controversial comments regarding the club over the week – immortalized himself in World Cup folklore after he had successfully dispatched a 65th minute penalty to open the scoring for Portugal in their match against Ghana. Having already scored in the 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups, Ronaldo became the first man to score in five World Cup editions with his goal against Ghana.
Former Swansea City man Andre Ayew drilled in Ghana’s equalizer in the 73rd minute, however Portugal clinched the win with two goals in two minutes – Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix restoring Portugal’s lead in the 78th minute before AC Milan’s Rafael Leao sealed all three points in the 80th minute.
Osman Bukhari headed home Ghana’s second goal in the 89th minute, but eventually it amounted to nothing more but mere consolation.
Group G’s matches on Thursday saw a second half strike from Breel Embolo sealing a 1-0 win for Switzerland over Cameroon, while Richarlison scored two goals – one of those being a spectacular acrobatic finish – as Brazil beat Serbia 2-0.