Today’s Portugal vs Morocco game gave Cristiano Ronaldo his fourth goal in just two matches which puts him one step closer to securing a place in the last 16 of the World Cup following their 1-0 victory at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Ronaldo headed in the only goal of the match in only the fourth minute to send Fernando Santos’ side top of Group B, with Iran set to take on Spain on Wednesday evening.
The 33-year-old came into Portugal’s second group encounter having scored a hat-trick in the game against Spain last Friday, which secured a thrilling point for Portugal in Sochi.
And it took just four minutes for Ronaldo to have an impact against Morocco when the forward found himself with space and time to deliver a diving header that flew into the back of the Moroccan goal.
In spite of Morocco suffering a scare when Ronaldo then shot wide five minutes later, Herve Renard’s team struggled back and tested Portugal’s defense over again in the first half.
In fact, Mehdi Benatia forced Rui Patricio into a save while Noureddine Amrabat and Khalid Boutaib were left riled – as were the whole Moroccan coaching – when they each failed to win penalties.
Morocco had only by a whisker lost their first match against Iran thanks to an added-time own goal by Aziz Bouhaddouz and, even in the face of going into the half-time break trailing, they came out in the second frantic for the equalizer.
Unluckily for Renard’s men and the thousands of Moroccan supporters in the stadium, Patricio was the difference as he pulled out two excellent saves to keep Portugal in the match.
Benatia fired over not long after, as did Hakim Ziyach from a free-kick before Benatia then left Morocco fans up on their feet when his header flew inches wide with 13 minutes to the end of the game.
But Portugal held on to take a huge step toward the round of 16 while the defeat means Morocco are now out of the tournament.