World Cup 2018, Portugal vs Morocco Highlights: Cristiano Ronaldo Scores Winner As Portugal Beat Morocco 1-0
FIFA World Cup 2018, Portugal vs Morocco: Morocco are out of contention for the World Cup in Russia after Portugal beat the north African side 1-0 in their Group B match on Wednesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo powered-home a fourth-minute header to give Portugal a 1-0 World Cup victory over Morocco that took them top of Group B on Wednesday and meant the unlucky North African side become the first to be eliminated from the tournament. Ronaldo's fourth goal of Russia 2018, following his hat-trick in the 3-3 draw with Spain, took the European champions to four points. Iran have three points and Spain one ahead of their meeting later on Wednesday. Morocco, who had a real go at the Luzhniki Stadium but failed to convert their chances, are pointless having also lost 1-0 to Iran and cannot progress to the second round. Despite their battling display, Morocco will rue the unforgivable defending that made all their subsequent good work irrelevant. They qualified for the finals without conceding a goal in six matches yet somehow opted against marking the most dangerous attacker at the tournament in the six yard box when Joao Moutinho swung in a cross from a short corner and Ronaldo duly buried the header. It was his 85th international goal, taking him beyond Hungarian Ferenc Puskas's European record, with only Iran's Ali Daei ahead of him on 109. (Highlights: Portugal vs Morocco)
Highlights of 2018 FIFA World Cup, Portugal vs Morocco match straight from Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
19:24 IST: FULL-TIME: Portugal beat Morocco 1-0 at Luzhniki stadium.
19:22 IST: Morocco captain Benatia misses the chance as he hits the ball over goalkeeper's head.
19:18 IST: SUBSTITUTION: Adrien Silva comes off the bench to replace Moutinho for Portugal.
19:15 IST: SUBSTITUTION: Fajr comes off the bench to replace El Ahmadi for Morocco.
19:13 IST: Morocco are enjoying possession now. They are pressing for an equaliser.
19:07 IST: Ziyach takes a free kick but fails to convert into a goal. Morocco miss another chance.
19:05 IST: 15 minutes to go in the match.
19:00 IST: SUBSTITUTE: Portuga's Kaabi is in. Boutab is out.
18:57 IST: Morocco miss the chance as the ball travels over the goal post.
18:55 IST: Free kick for Morocco.
18:44 IST: Terrific save from Portugal goalie Patricio. Spectacular work from him. Ronaldo gives a pat on his back for this stupendous work.
18:34 IST: The second half gets underway.
18:26 IST: Ronaldo is in second place on the all-time international top scorer list behind Ali Daei (109 for Iran)
18:22 IST: Ronaldo is the second Portugual player to net at least four goals at a single World Cup after Eusebio (9) in 1966
18:16 IST: It's HALF TIME: Portugal 1-0 MOROCCO
18:12 IST: YELLOW CARD! Morocco's centre-back Benatia has been issued a yellow card
18:10 IST: Portugal No. 17 Perez misses the chance. What a save by Moroccoan goalkeeper. Stupendous job. He dives forward and grabs the ball.
18:02 IST: Ronaldo misses the chance. PORTUGAL 1-0 MOROCCO
18:01 IST: Free kick for Portugal. Ronaldo will take the free kick. Another goal for Portugal?
18:00 IST: Great effort from Morocco. But Portugal's goalkeeper Patricio spoils their chance of equalise.
17:49 IST: Morocco's Hakim Ziyech makes his way into the Portugal box but his shot is blocked. First proper attack from Morocco.
17:47 IST: 85 international goals for RONALDO.
17:40 IST: Ronaldo misses his second goal by a whisker.
17:35 IST: GOALLL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cristiano Ronaldo scores in 4th minute. Portugal take 1-0 lead against Morocco.
17:30 IST: It's time for kick off. Here we go...!!!
17:28 IST: Can you hear the noise? It's for their star Cristiano Ronaldo. What an atmosphere at Luzhniki stadium.
17:26 IST: Ronaldo is in focus. The captain is smiling. Can we witness another spectacular show from the Real Madrid star today?
17:24 IST: Both teams - Portugal and Morocco- are in the middle for national anthems.
17:07 IST: The starting line ups of Portugal vs Morocco match have been announced.
15:45 IST: Striker Andres Silva expects 'another hard match'.
15:00 IST: Hello and welcome to the Live coverage of FIFA World Cup 2018 match between Portugal and Morocco.
Morocco, in their first finals appearance for 20 years, regrouped well and showed some real positivity in attack with Hakim Ziyech and Nordin Amrabat seeing plenty of the ball but Portugal generally defended well to limit the danger. Amrabat was furious at not being awarded a penalty after wrestling with Raphael Guerreiro and the entire squad erupted in outrage. Coach Herve Renard was also ticked off for the new offence of gesticulating to demand a video assistant referee (VAR) review of the incident, which left Amrabat with rugby-style stud-rake marks on his stomach that he insisted on displaying to anyone who would look. Morocco were the dominant side in the second half and Portugal were grateful to goalkeeper Rui Patricio for a fantastic diving low save to touch clear Younes Belhanda's sharp header, while Medhi Benatia blazed over the bar when he should have scored after an hour. However, Portugal held out and go on to complete their first-round against Iran while Morocco face Spain, both on June 25.
Portugal are not widely regarded as one of the contenders despite their unlikely European success two years back. Portugal were less than impressive against Spain in the first game save Ronaldo who was the difference between the two sides. A world class free kick two minutes from full time sparked wild celebrations from the former Manchester United marksman and his team.
Coming to Morocco, they did not concede a single goal in the final qualifying round as they sealed a return to the World Cup for the first time in 20 years. Not expected to make the knockouts, their slim hopes were dented when a 95th-minute own goal by Aziz Bouhaddouz gifted Iran three points. Herve Renard's men face a monumental challenge, with games to come against Portugal and Spain. In defence, they have Medhi Benatia and Achraf Hakimi who will be wary of the threat Ronaldo possesses. Further forward, winger Nordin Amrabat has been ruled out of the clash after a clash of heads with Iran's Vahid Amiri in St Petersburg on Friday.
Morocco will rely on Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech, who is the fulcrum of their attacking play.b Amine Harit had a very good game against Iran and he will be optimistic that his creativity will combine well with Ayoub El Kaabi. It will be just the second meeting between the two countries, after Morocco beat Portugal 3-1 in the group stage at the 1986 finals.