Cristiano Ronaldo became the first man to score at five World Cups on Thursday when he scored the opening goal from the penalty spot in Portugal’s 3-2 win over Ghana.
The 37-year-old set the record when he smashed home a 65th-minute spot-kick at Doha’s 974 Stadium to send Fernando Santos’ side to a win that moved them top of Group X, two points clear of Uruguay and South Korea .
Joao Felix and rising star Rafael Leao made sure of the win after Andre Ayew’s equalizer briefly threatened to spoil Ronaldo’s party.
Osman Boukari scored a last-minute goal for Ghana, but the tournament’s lowest-ranked team could not pull off a shocker and sit bottom of the group.
Ronaldo surpassed Pele and Germany’s Uwe Siller and Miroslav Klose to score at four World Cups after he was brought down by Mohamed Salisu and converted the penalty himself.
Manchester United announced this week that Ronaldo would leave immediately after criticizing the club and manager Erik ten Haag in a TV interview, but he showed no signs of straining from the bitter end to his stay at Old Trafford.
All pre-match attention was on Ronaldo and whether he could break the record and he had the perfect chance to do so in the 10th minute.
Mohamed Qudus fumbled the ball into the middle of the pitch and Ottavio slipped Ronaldo through, only for a once clinical finish to mis-control the pass and slam into Ghana keeper Lawrence Atti-Zigi as he tried to poke home.
Soon after, Ronaldo headed Rafael Guerreiro’s deep cross wide from close range, a chance that at his best would have almost guaranteed a goal.
He did have the ball in the net just after the half-hour mark when it fell to him in the area, but referee Ismail Elfat harshly adjudged him to have pushed Alexander Dziku before turning and stroking home.
Ronaldo was actually Portugal’s only real goal threat against what is on paper the weakest team in Group X, backed by an enthusiastic set of supporters who put on more of a show in the stands than their current players initially did on the pitch.
Ajax midfielder Kudus briefly got the crowd off their feet 10 minutes after the break when he burst forward against an exposed Portugal defense and unleashed a powerful shot that ended up easily past Diogo Costa’s left-hand post.
Ronaldo then hit his record penalty, but as the chorus of cheers and chants of his name began to die down, a previously dull game sparked into life, Ayew stunned the crowd by tapping in Kudus’s 73rd-minute pull.
However, Felix and Leao ensured Portugal took the points with two stunning finishes in as many minutes, both strikes set up by Ronaldo’s former United team-mate Bruno Fernandes.
Bucari then emulated Ronaldo with a goal celebration after heading home completely unmarked, but Portugal held on for a big win on a historic day.