Cristiano Ronaldo was again the talisman for Portugal as his 85th international goal solidified the European country’s chances of group-phase progression and consigned Morocco to the exit doors of the World Cup when both countries met at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, capital of Russia, on Wednesday.
It took only four minutes of game time for Ronaldo to get his fourth goal of the 2018 World Cup, evading the tussle of three Moroccan defenders to nod home Joao Moutinho’s corner kick.
Morocco stepped out of their shell from then on, creating chance upon chance over the next 86 minutes, but they were denied by a combination of poor marksmanship, brilliant goalkeeping by Rui Patricio and last-ditch defending by the Portuguese defence.
Morocco, like Egypt, will now have to arrange an early flight out of Russia, while Ronaldo, with his goal, the 85th for Portugal, becomes the highest international goals scorer ever in European football by overtaking Hungarian Ferenc Puskas.
Morocco meet Spain in their last match of the tournament next week seeking to salvage some pride having failed to score a goal yet in two matches, while Portugal face Iran next seeking to rival Spain for supreme control of the group.