Though they lost, Ghanaians have commended the Black Stars for their performance in their opening game yesterday against Portugal in the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The Stars lost by 2-3 to their opponents.
“A lot has changed about the Black Stars since they crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroun early in the year after an abysmal performance. The Stars, undeniably, played their heart. Today, they are an improved side, with a new attitude and unity of purpose and managed by positive-looking Ghanaian technical handlers who are determined to get the best out of the promising young team,” one fan wrote.
Many fans, however, expressed disappointmemnt about what they considered was poor officiating which combined with other factors to rob the team of the desired victory.
“Officiating is very important in football, and I think it is something that must be looked at during the FIFA World Cup to prevent decisions from favouring particular national teams in the end,” another fan said.
“Such poor officiating usually determines the outcome of games which shouldn’t be so, and I believe if we really want to see a deserving winner of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, then referee decisions must be intact. From the look of things, in yesterday’s game, it was obvious that there were scenes of bad officiating. We believe that our Black Stars are ready to respect the decisions of the referee in our matches, but it won’t be fair to be cheated in favour of other teams,” another insisted.
Five goals in the second half ensured the Europeans collected all three points with second half substitute Rafael Leao scoring the winner.
The 2016 European champions enjoyed early possession, winning a corner kick after just three minutes but the set piece was well defended by the Black Stars.
Ghana’s first move forward was through right-back Alidu Seidu but the Clermont Foot defender’s cross did not meet it’s target, Inaki Williams.
Ronaldo had a great chance to give the Portuguese the lead after he was sent through by Bernardo Silva but the Portugal talisman was denied by goalkeeper, Richard Ati Zigi.
The Portugal captain had another opportunity few minutes later but solid defending from Ghana left Ronaldo hapless. Meanwhile, midfielder Mohammed Kudu’ faint pass on the other hand could not find Williams who was in a very good position.
Ronaldo thought he had given Portugal the lead on the half hour mark after slotting home from inside the box but the referee whistled for a foul on Alexander Djiku. Ghana won back-to-back corner kicks but the team failed to make it count with Danilo Pareira defending resolutely.
Portugal returned from the break determined to break the deadlock but it was Ghana who will try from afar, with Seidu firing from distance.
However, after the hour mark Ronaldo was awarded a penalty after he was shoved off the ball by Mohammed Salisu. The former Manchester United player made no mistake from the spot.
Ten minutes later Ghana levelled through captain Andre Ayew, who connected to a fine pass from Mohammed Kudus. Two minutes later the Portuguese took the lead after a mistake in the middle, leading to a Joao Felix lifting the ball over Ati Zigi.
It marks Portugal’s first World Cup victory in an opening match since 2006, and Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored once, made history as the first men’s player to score in five different FIFA World Cup tournaments.