Cristiano Ronaldo’s point-blank goal in the 80th minute allowed American soccer fans to breathe and condemned Ghana to four years of torment, as Portugal defeated Ghana 2-1 in their Group G finale.
Ronaldo had all kinds of trouble beating Ghana goalkeeper Fatau Dauda, and it took a Ghanaian gaffe to give Portugal its first goal.
Miguel Veloso’s cross into the box was deflected past Dauda by Ghana defender John Boye, giving Portugal a 1-0 lead.
As if informed Germany had gone up 1-0, Ghana’s star — Asamoah Gyan — headed home a cross from Juventus’ Kwadwo Asamoah to make the game more dramatic at 1-1.
The match was a combination of borderline tackles and big hits on Ronaldo. Clearly, Ghana was abiding by the Atletico Madrid, USA and German philosophy of tackling the heck out of one of the world’s elite talents.
Ghana nearly put doom in the American hopes in the 61st minute, when Majeed Waris turned a point-blank header wide of the goal off a brilliant cross from Gyan.
The CAF side picked up a dangerous free kick from 10 yards inside the corner flag and just inside the end line, but Portugal cleared the 68th minute chance. Ghana was looming and Portugal was looking beat-up.
That might be an overstatement. While the rested Black Stars were racing up the flanks, Portugal was barely keeping up.
But just as it was going to be over for the States, Ronaldo pounced on a botched Dauda catch to score the winner.
Portugal: Beto, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Miguel Veloso, William Carvalho, Ronaldo (c), Moutinho, Eder (Vieirinha, 70′), Nani, Amorim, Pereira (Varela, 61′)
Goals: Boye o.g. (31′), Ronaldo (80′)
Ghana: Dauda, Gyan (c), Atsu, Agyemang Badu, A. Ayew, Rabiu (Afriyje, 76′), Waris (J. Ayew, 71′), Mensah, Asamoah, Boye, Afful