Cristiano Ronaldo goal for Portugal to send Morocco out 1-0

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring the opener for Portugal
Portugal survive! Morocco were the better team for most of the match and created an array of chances but they couldn’t find a telling touch when it mattered most. And that’s what Cristiano Ronaldo specialises in. His early goal was the difference between the two teams. Morocco are eliminated from the World Cup despite a gallant display. 

Here’s how Portugal beat Morocco, from Victor Mather:
  • 90’ +4: Morocco Just Can’t Find the Goal

  • A long free kick by Morocco bounces around in the box tantalizingly. It’s Benatia again, it’s over the bar again.
  • 90’ +2: Pepe Goes Down on a Pat

  • Benatia of Morocco pats Pepe on the back. Pepe goes down hard, then leaps up and yells at Benatia. Pepe, 35, has been known in his career for a hot temper.
  • 90’: Ziyech Denied

  • Suddenly Ziyech is free in the box for Morocco: a dribble and a shot, but it’s blocked. Five minutes of added time.
  • 83’: Ronaldo Free Kick Off the Wall

  • Morocco brings down Ronaldo right on the penalty line. It’s judged to be just outside the box, so a very dangerous free kick, not a penalty. Ronaldo ... everyone grabs their cameras ... off the wall. He has a big smile afterward. After the free kick, Ronaldo goes to ground but does not get a call.
  • 80’: Back and Forth

  • Portugal, Morocco, Portugal, etc. Ziyech misses on a corner. Pepe kicks the ball onto his own hand. Action at both ends.
  • 79’: Another Free Kick for Morocco

  • Ziyach takes a free kick from the right, which goes to Benatia. He can’t get his head on it, though, and the shot goes wide.
  • 76’: Morocco Feeling the Pressure

  • Morocco is racing around the pitch, playing hard defense, passing nicely, getting some crosses and free kicks. They just haven’t been able to finish.
  • A loss in this game would eliminate them from the World Cup. They have yet to score a goal in two games.
  • 68’: Another Free Kick for Morocco Goes Over

  • A good extended period of control ends with a free kick to Morocco just outside the box. But Ziyech sends it over.
  • Andrew Das: Morocco’s best spell seems to have ended without the goal it needs so desperately. We’ve got some fresh legs on both sides now, though, and should see more on this hot day. Maybe one of them will land the decisive blow.
  • 65’: Guerreiro Booked

  • Guerreiro has struggled all game against Amrabat. He’s now booked for grabbing and pulling him down.
  • 65’: Portugal Struggling to Slow Morocco

  • Another series of attacks by Morocco ends with a tepid shot from Achraf Hakimi that is saved easily. Portugal cannot shut Morocco out of the game.
  • 61’: Benatia Takes His Turn

  • A free kick for Morocco ends up on the foot of Mehdi Benatia, who turns and shoots. Over the bar.
  • 59’: Applause for Defense

  • While we’ve been praising the offenses, a word for the fine play from the rest of the teams. Portugal’s keeper Patrico has made several good saves, and Morocco has foiled Portugal counters by having their defensemen regularly in the right places.
  • 57’: Patricio Makes Huge Save

And it’s Morocco again. Leaping save by Rui Patricio on Belhanda. It feels like a goal must be coming at one end or the other.
Andrew Das: Tremendous save by Patricio, who has now had two in a couple of minutes. Morocco has found its footing, and they are trying to cash in before they lose it again.
  • 55’: Morocco Making Some Noise

  • Morocco’s Amrabat finds room on the right, then sends one to Belhanda, who fires one right at Patricio.
  • 50’: Rare Miss for Ronaldo

  • Ronaldo charges in unmarked but launches the ball over the net. Portugal playing better this half.
  • 48’: Portugal Misses Wide

  • A creative corner for Portugal leads to a header by Jose Fonte, but it goes wide. Same setup as the corner that led to a goal, but this time the target was Fonte instead of Ronaldo, who played decoy.
  • 46’: Morocco Will Keep Pressing

  • Second half underway. Morocco will keep looking for that equalizer.
  • Halftime Reading: Russian Doping Lab Now a Gastro Pub

  • Andrew Keh watched the Russia-Egypt game at the site of the infamous Sochi lab at the center of the Russian doping scandal, which is now a gastro pub with doping-themed cocktails. Read Andrew’s story here.
  • Halftime: Portugal 1, Morocco 0

  • An entertaining game. Underdogs are often in bad shape when they fall behind in matches like this. Morocco played about as well as you could ask. They just didn’t quite get a goal. Goof for Morocco: they took seven shots to Portugal’s five, and 50 percent of the possession. Portugal was forced into 17 clearances in the half.
  • Andrew Das: Morocco had some chances in the half, and Amrabat especially has been persistent trouble for Guerreiro on the right wing. But the Moroccans haven’t taken advantage of the chances they have created, and Ronaldo buried his really good one. And that, I guess, is why Real Madrid pays him all that money.
  • 47’: Morocco Threatens, but Misses

  • Header by Belhanda goes wide. Morocco still attacking.
  • 41’: Close Call for Morocco

Morocco’s attacking style leaves them a wee bit open at the back, and Ronaldo finds Goncalo Guedes, who forces a one-handed save, then fluffs the rebound. Great save by Mohamedi Munir. That really should have been 2-0.
Andrew Das: Morocco needs a little composure here. They feel very aggrieved by a couple of calls, and they’ve lashed out a couple times. Benatia just got a yellow for persistent infringement — basically, a handful of fouls that added up to one yellow once he rolled Ronaldo at midfield — and they just lost Guedes and had to be bailed out by their goalkeeper. Going into halftime down by 1-0 is not great. Going in down by 2-0 would be worse.
  • 36’: Patricio Keeping Busy

  • Portugal keeper Rui Patricio catches a lobbed shot and upbraids his defense. He’s working harder than expected.
  • 35’: Not Even Close

  • El Ahmadi’s speculative shot for Morocco lands in row Z.
  • 33’: Free Kick for Ronaldo

  • After appealing for a foul on one end, Morocco commits one on the other. Ronaldo stands over a short free kick. Goal No. 5? No, it goes off the wall. End-to-end action right now.
  • 27’: Penalty Appeal for Morocco

  • Amrabat of Morocco goes down in the box and a big penalty appeal goes up. No call. The Morocco bench wants video review. Still no call. Amrabat lifts his shirt to reveal blood to the viewing audience. No call.
  • Andrew Das: Both players were holding, Geiger tells a furious Herve Renard at the next stoppage, and the replays confirm. Either way, the contact happened outside the area, so it shouldn’t have been a penalty. Geiger explained as much to the Moroccan players, and then goes to the sideline to talk with Renard about confronting the fourth official.
  • “Both were holding,” one can discern from amateur lip-reading. And he’s right. Guerreiro pulls up his shirt to show a nasty red wound from Boutaib’s hand.
  • 26’: Ronaldo Rolls

  • Benatia bumps into Ronaldo, and Ronaldo executes the “oh-I’m-injured” barrel roll. Three rotations. He’s fine.
  • 24’: Portugal Looking to Regain Control

  • Long-range effort by Ziyach of Morocco was saved. Portugal is going to want to get control of the ball a bit more. The thing is, if teams get enough shots and enough chances, the ball eventually goes in. Morocco is getting a lot of chances right now.
  • Andrew Das: Ronaldo is strolling mostly, or walking in the first half. His economy of movement, and effort, is remarkable. Sometimes he’ll just stand still, watching for a bit, then jog a few steps. But he only runs when he has to run, and those are the moments when everyone edges forward on their seat a little.
  • 20’: Morocco Keeps Shooting

  • Morocco, as you might expect, is throwing everything at Portugal and it’s working. Ziyech and Boussoufa got close-in shots that drew saves.
  • 12’: Morocco Gets a Look

  • The chances are coming thick and fast! A header from Benatia of Morocco, the captain, is saved at the corner of the net. Both teams are playing an open and aggressive brand of soccer.
  • 9’: Ronaldo Threatens Again

Nearly two for Ronaldo. He dribbled right, shot left (through a defender’s legs), but it went barely wide. Morocco is in deep trouble here.

GOAL! Portugal Leads 1-0

That was fast. Portugal took a tricky short corner, and Moutinho quickly stepped up to send it into the box. Who should be there to head it in but that man Cristiano Ronaldo? Goal No. 4 for him at this World Cup.
Andrew Das: How do you lose Cristiano Ronaldo on a corner? I mean, c’mon Morocco. Somehow, Manuel Da Costa fell for a stutter step, turned his head, and got beat. Any player at the World Cup buries a free header from six yards. Ronaldo? He lives for them.

3’: Morocco Attacks First

Morocco started fast, whipping the ball downfield. Eventually new striker Boutaib got off a headed shot, which missed wide.


Portugal in a blinding all-white and Morocco in red with green shorts. Portugal have brought in the skillful midfielder Joao Mario. Three changes for Morocco, including the forward Khalid Boutaib and two new defenders, Dirar and Da Costa.

Portugal survive! Morocco were the better team for most of the match and created an array of chances but they couldn’t find a telling touch when it mattered most. And that’s what Cristiano Ronaldo specialises in

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