Cristiano Ronaldo made history as he became the first player to score in five World Cups, powering Portugal to a 3-2 victory over Ghana on Day 5 of the World Cup in Qatar.
The 37-year-old struck a thumping 61st-minute penalty to put Fernando Santos’s side ahead in the Group H encounter at Stadium 974 in Doha, with the striker keen to show off his talents to potential new clubs following an acrimonious split this week with Manchester United.
Portugal’s advantage did not last long with Ghana captain Andre Ayew drawing his side level in the 73rd minute, marking the first goal by an African side at this year’s tournament.
The Black Stars’s raucous fans broke out in celebration after watching their team fail to take a single shot in the first 45 minutes.
But the jubilant scenes were short-lived, as Portugal turned up the heat with Joao Felix and Rafael Leao scoring twice in the following seven minutes to make it 3-1 at the 80-minute mark.
Any hopes Portugal had of a comfortable stroll to victory, however, were shaken by Ghana’s Osman Bukari, who made it 3-2 in the 89th minute.
A tense nine minutes of extra time followed but Portugal hung on to take three points and put themselves at the top of the group.
Portugal are next in action on Monday against Uruguay. Ghana play South Korea on the same day.
Portugal and Ghana line up ahead of their thrilling Group H match at Stadium 974 [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
Brazil vs Serbia
Brazil opened their campaign for the World Cup in style with Richarlison powering the tournament favourites to a 2-0 victory against Serbia at the Lusail Stadium.
The 25-year-old striker scored just after the one-hour mark in the Group G fixture and went on to add a spectacular second goal shortly afterwards in the 73rd minute.
Serbia, who had offered staunch resistance for the first two-thirds of the game, were left to chase shadows as Brazil’s players zipped the ball around and staged regular raids on their opponents’ box, underlining their credentials as the most dangerous side in the competition.
But there was concern about star forward Neymar.
The 30-year-old had helped Selecao win the 2013 Confederations Cup and its first Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games but he limped out of the action against Serbia in the 80th minute after receiving a knock to his right ankle.
Neymar has had problems with that foot before and the Paris St Germain player sat on the bench with his face covered while he received treatment for the remainder of the match.
Brazil’s win leaves them top of Group G, followed by Switzerland.
The South American giants, who are in search of a sixth World Cup win, will play Switzerland on Monday. Serbia will play Cameroon on the same day.
Brazil’s Richarlison celebrates scoring the team’s second goal as they started their campaign for a sixth World Cup [Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters]
Uruguay vs South Korea
Uruguay and South Korea kicked off their World Cup campaigns at Education City Stadium in Doha with a fast-paced game that ended in a goalless draw.
Despite a lack of goals, the atmosphere in the stadium was electric, with South Korean fans banging on drums throughout the game.
Uruguay – known as La Celeste – came closest to scoring when Diego Godin hit the post with a header in the first half. Federico Valverde hit the post again in the 89th minute with a long-range effort.
South Korea also had several chances and will be frustrated that Hwang Ui-jo could not do more after he found himself unmarked in the 37th minute.
South Korea fans turned out in force to watch their team in a match that was entertaining despite the lack of goals [Bernadett Szabo/Reuters]
Switzerland vs Cameroon
Playing at the Al Janoub stadium, Switzerland edged past a lively Cameroon side in their Group G game, maintaining their unbeaten record in their opening games at the World Cup.
Forward Breel Embolo scored the winning goal for Switzerland in the first half.
The 25-year-old was born in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé, but moved to Switzerland with his family and became a Swiss citizen shortly after his 18th birthday.
After scoring, Embolo raised his hands in an apologetic manner as teammates celebrated around him. He pointed towards Swiss fans behind the goal where he had scored, then to Cameroon fans at the opposite corner of the stadium.
Cameroon were the better side in the opening half, while Switzerland pulled themselves together in the second.
Following their 1-0 victory, Switzerland are due to play Brazil on Monday, while Cameroon will face off against Serbia.
Switzerland’s Breel Embolo scored the team’s winning goal against Cameroon, the country where he was born [Petr Josek/AP Photo]
Off the pitch:
Social media sensation
Abubakr Abbass, a 23-year-old from Kenya, has emerged as a fan favourite – and accidental social media sensation – in Qatar.
Sat on a tennis-umpire chair and wearing a large foam finger, he guides the hundreds of fans visiting the historic market, called Souq Waqif, to the metro station nearby with the help of his trusted megaphone.
His helpful advice, “Metro? This way. Metro? This way,” has now become a catchphrase.
“I saw him on TikTok. I thought it was really funny. He makes me laugh; it’s such a simple task,” said a young fan dressed in a Chelsea football shirt.
Abubakr Abbass at work near Doha’s Souq Waqif [Al Jazeera]
Fake video on Ukraine fans
Al Jazeera has said a video attributed to the news network and circulating on social media is fake.
The video claims that three “drunken” Ukrainian football fans had been arrested and had also spread “Nazi symbols” in Doha.
“The video in question is completely fake and Al Jazeera has never published any news related to this story,” Al Jazeera said in a statement.
The video’s main message about the “Ukrainian Nazis” echoes pro-Russian misinformation circulating on the internet.
“The basic Russian narrative for export is the allegedly ‘Nazi’ character of Ukraine’s political regime,” Kyiv-based analyst Aleksey Kushch told Al Jazeera.
The claims “serve as justification of the war both for [a] domestic [Russian] audience and for foreign [audiences]”, Kushch said.
While Ukraine has some outspoken far-right, ultra-nationalist and white supremacist groups, their current influence on Ukraine’s political life is limited.