Andre Ayew of Ghana tackles Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Portugal and Ghana at Estadio Nacional on June 26, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed Portugal a 2-1 win over Ghana in Brasilia, but it was insufficient to keep them from crashing out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil on goal difference, Fifa.com reports.
Asamoah Gyan’s 57th-minute header had cancelled out John Boye’s first-half own-goal before the FIFA Ballon d’Or holder’s late settler, but Paulo’s Bento’s side would have required at least another three goals without reply to pip USA to second place in Group G.
A game both sides began with hope of reaching the knockout phase quickly got going. Ronaldo’s pace got him away down the right. A cross seemed inevitable, but the 29-year-old looked up, noticed the keeper slightly off his line and, from a seemingly impossible angle, struck an audacious, astonishing strike that looped over Fatau Dauda but came back off the crossbar.
A few minutes later Ronaldo unleashed a trademark free-kick, which moved as it fizzed through the air and was parried behind by the Ghana goalkeeper. Ronaldo then headed straight at Dauda from point-blank range, following a superb right-wing cross from Joao Pereira.
Ghana instantly counter-attacked. Gyan did well to hold off Bruno Alves, but his close-range shot was repelled by the legs of Portugal keeper Beto. The first half-hour had somehow finished goalless, but the deadlock wouldn’t remain much longer. Portugal's opener came about after Joao Moutinho did exceptionally to retain possession and feed Ruben Amorim, whose left-wing cross was sliced into his own net by John Boye.
Amorim then dragged his shot narrowly wide from just inside the box, before Atsu cut in from the left but failed to keep his curler on target, ensuring Portugal carried a slender lead in at the break.
That advantage lasted just 12 minutes into the second half. Andre Ayew did well to free Kwadwo Asamoah down the left, and his cross with the outside of his boot was headed home at the back post by Gyan.
Ghana should have been in front moments later. Gyan’s cross found the unmarked Mahed Waris six yards out, but he headed wide when it appeared easier to score.
Asamoah, Gyan and Agyeman Badu all tried their luck but failed to trouble Beto, before Portugal were gifted a goal on 80 mnutes. Jonathan Mensah headed a Nani cross up in the air and Fatau, rather than catching it, flapped it straight into the path of Ronaldo, who slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
Portugal needed a goal-blitz and they attacked relentlessly thereafter, but Boye made a fine block to deny Ronaldo and 2-1 is how it finished, eliminating both teams from a highly competitive group.
Report: Fifa dot com
That's Group E done and dusted, with just a few more groups to be settled before we enter the knockout stages.
Germany and the USA will progress from the group, leaving Portugal to rue their 4-0 defeat to the Germans on the opening day. An improved goal difference would have given them a fighting chance of going through.
Portugal go out on a high to end Ghana's hopes of progression as captain Cristiano Ronaldo gets on the World Cup scoring charts with the winner in Brasilia. Harsh on Ghana who played well but lacked a cutting edge.
FULL-TIME: Portugal 2-1 Ghana
90' + 5' Gyan fires over and that looks set to be that.
90' + 4' Yellow Card Joao Moutinho
90' + 4' FREE-KICK FOR GHANA - This will be Ghana's final chance to have an effort on target and draw level.
90' + 2' Ronaldo is denied by Dauda when through on goal before Nani tries his luck from way out. Neither extend Portugal's lead as we approach the latter stages of the game.
90' + 1' ALMOST A SECOND FOR RONALDO - That would have flattered Portugal. Ronaldo clips an effort on the run that goes marginally over the crossbar.
90' We'll have four minutes of added on time but it's likely to be little, too late. Germany and the US are set to progress leaving Ghana and Portugal to contemplate an early exit.
89' Substitution: Beto OUT, Eduardo IN
89' Gyan gets an effort away on target but it's tame and easily saved by Beto. The Ghana skipper has been in fine form this afternoon and caused Pepe and Bruno Alves plenty of problems.
87' Appiah will be pleased to see his side still press forward in search of a second but it looks to be in vain. Entering the latter stages of the game and both sides are on the verge of elimination.
85' Ronaldo and Varela go close to adding a third for Portugal and Ghana look deflated after seeing their hopes pretty much extinguished.
83' That's all but ended Ghana's hopes of progression as Ronaldo ensures he grabs a goal at the competition. Ghana have had the better of the play in large stages but have lacked a cutting edge.
82' Substitution: André Ayew Wakaso
80' Goal Cristiano Ronaldo
GOAL FOR PORTUGAL - Ronaldo breaks Ghana hearts but what a poor goal to concede. A high ball is flapped at by Dauda and Ronaldo follows in to rifle it home. Gutting for the Black Stars.
78' Yellow Card: Jordan Ayew
78' Jordan Ayew and William are involved in a closely-contested tussle with the former booked for his part in proceedings. He's perhaps a little fortunate not to get a red as he looks to swing an elbow at the midfielder.
76' Substitution: Mohammed Rabiu OUT, Afriyie Acquah IN
76' Another header from Gyan creeps wide of the target. Ghana still creating chances as we enter the final 15 minutes.
75' Ronaldo bundled over in the box but it's deemed a fair shoulder charge. The Real man is quickly back on his feet however and was always unlikely to be given a penalty there.
72' STAT - Asamoah Gyan has passed Roger Milla's record for the most World Cup goals by an African player with six.
71' Substitution Abdul Majeed Waris Jordan Ayew
70' William strikes from distance but it's high and wide. Ghana regroup and move back into Portugal's half. Can Gyan inspire them to a famous victory?
69' Substitution: Éder Vieirinha
69' It's a poor delivery but, when it's cleared, Asamoah drags his effort well wide of target.
67' Gyan fouled on the byeline and Atsu will whip in a cross...
65' Gyan stretches the Portugal defence again with his pace and when his cross is cleared Atsu fires well over from distance. You get the impression Ghana will need Gyan to keep the pressure on Portugal, he's been a real danger man once more.
63' Ghana have to take the initiative now and go in search of what could be a crucial goal. Appiah's men have been the most adventurous today but have lacked composure in the final third. Plenty of time to make amends however...
61' Substitution: João Pereira OUT, Silvestre Varela IN
61' WARIS WITH A GREAT CHANCE - The World Cup debutant heads wide with the goal at his mercy. Great delivery from Gyan and it deserved better.
60' How things have changed. One more goal for Ghana and they will go through courtesy of the goals scored in the group. Incredible turnaround in the group. Can Ghana pile on the pressure and progress?
57' Goal: Asamoah Gyan
GYAN EQUALISES FOR GHANA - The striker heads home at the far post from Asamoah's cross.
56' It still leaves Portugal with a big mountain to climb but that will give Paulo Bento and co a boost.
55' Yellow Card Abdul Majeed Waris
55' There's been a goal in Recife and Thomas Muller has put Germany ahead against the US.
53' Nani and Moutinho exchange neat flicks to fashion space for Ronaldo but he's crowded out in the final third. He's been quiet since his early flurry of chances but that's more promising from Portugal.
51' Like in the first half, Ghana are looking confident and assured on the ball but struggling to get in behind the Portugal defence. Gyan has an effort on goal but it clips the side netting.
48' Nani has Portugal's first effort of the half. A strike from outside the area that cannons off Boye and, thankfully for the Ghana man, veers over the crossbar.
47' Portugal quickly on the attack after Ghana get us back under way, can the Black Stars turn around their one-goal deficit?
The players are heading back out for the second half and we should be back under way shortly. This looks set to be the final 45 minutes of action for both sides at the World Cup.
However, it's been an entertaining half and, if Ghana can find their shooting boots, we could see a few more goals here in Brasilia. Join us for the second half between Portugal and Ghana shortly.
John Boye's own goal separates the sides at the break and, with Germany and the USA still goalless, it looks like we may miss out on a tense ending to the group.
John Boye's own goal separates the sides at the break and, with Germany and the USA still goalless, it looks like we may miss out on a tense ending to the group. However, it's been an entertaining half and, if Ghana can find their shooting boots, we could see a few more goals here in Brasilia. Join us for the second half between Portugal and Ghana shortly.
45' + 1' HALF-TIME: Portugal 1-0 Ghana
45' ALMOST ANOTHER! Boye almost turns another cross into his own net. Fortunate for him it sails harmlessly out for a corner. Late pressure here for Portugal.
43' Gyan goes down but his penalty appeals are waved away as Ghana look set to go in behind at the break. The game is not beyond Appiah's side however, they may just need to fine tune their finishing.
41' Atsu evades Joao Pereira and whips an effort in on goal. It drifts just past the far post however.
40' Ghana continue to probe but can't get beyond the Portugal defence as we approach half-time. They've had their chances Ghana but trail to an unfortunate own-goal.
39' Yellow Card Harrison Afful
37' GYAN HEADER - Asamoah Gyan connects with a header but flashes it just wide of the post.
35' AMORIM GOES CLOSE - The Benfica midfielder drags an effort just wide into the side netting. Portugal well and truly in the ascendancy here.
34' That goal means Portugal move up a place while Ghana occupy bottom spot. If Portugal are to progress they will need to pile in the goals from here on in and hope for Germany to do the business against the USA.
33' Ronaldo is quick to test Dauda again as Portugal go in search of a second. The Ballon d'Or holder fires a dipping drive at the Ghana goalkeeper who is equal to it.
30' Own Goal: John Boye
BOYE OH BOYE! The Ghana defender turns the ball into his own net. Portugal take the lead! Veloso swung the ball in from the left and John Boye's attempted clearance looped over Dauda and in.
30' SHAKY DEFENDING - Portugal are looking rocky at the back with Pepe putting in a loose ball that Beto is just about able to clear.
29' Ronaldo breaks but he switches the ball wide to Veloso whose first cross is blocked. His second is collected well by Dauda and Ghana are quickly on the front foot again. Bruno Alves tackling Atsu on the right.
27' Portugal's positive start has dropped off of late as Ghana turn the screw. A goal before the break will give them hope but they will be wary of the quality Ronaldo and co can produce.
25' Kwadwo Asamoah swings it in but Gyan's header is well saved by Beto. Good opportunity for Ghana but we're still goalless.
23' DANGEROUS FREE-KICK FOR GHANA - Agyemang-Badu is brought down on the right. Can Ghana threaten here?
21' Straight up the other end and Beto is called on to save Gyan's effort with his legs. End-to-end stuff here in Brasilia. You sense a goal is on the way...
20' RONALDO DENIED - Stunning save from Dauda as he saves Ronaldo's header at point-blank range.
19' Moutinho with a poor ball into Eder and the Braga man is unable to get on the end of it. Wasted opportunity for Portugal who looked to be in there.
17' CROWDED HOUSE - Asamoah Gyan is crowded out in the penalty area by a host of Portugal bodies. A strong spell of pressure here from the Black Stars.
15' Chelsea's Christian Atsu cleverly evades Miguel Veloso with a neat turn but his cross is easily cleared. Signs of adventure from Ghana but they're yet to test Beto in the Portugal goal.
13' On target from Ronaldo, who hits a trademark dipping effort, but Dauda palms the free-kick away to safety.
12' RONALDO TERRITORY? The skipper and later Joao Moutinho are both fouled on the edge of the area and Ronaldo will surely be among the candidates to strike this free-kick.
10' Scary moment for goalkeeper Dauda as he comes out to deal with a long ball only to juggle it precariously on his chest. Eventually gets it clear and Ghana break - only for their attack to be snuffed out.
9' That appears to have sparked Portugal into life. They look more purposeful on the ball already and will need to build on that if they are bolster their slim hopes of progression.
7' Just an example of the quality Ronaldo possesses there. He appeared to be going nowhere but, out of nowhere, he has Portugal fans out of their seats. Stunning effort.
6' CLOSE FROM RONALDO - The Real Madrid star clips an audacious effort over Fatawu Dauda and onto the crossbar. What a goal that would have been!
5' It's been a scrappy start to the match, with neither side able to keep possession for any length of time. It'll be difficult to see this pace maintained for much longer in such hot and sticky conditions.
3' No chances to report as yet but Ronaldo and Nani are pushing high early on to form a 4-3-3 with Eder up top. Could that be the key to causing Ghana problems?
1' WE'RE UNDERWAY! Portugal kick us off, playing from right to left...
Commentary: Goal dot com