Ronaldo scores fourth goal, gives Portugal early lead

Deanna Kelley
June 21, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo's early header in Portugal's 1-0 win over Morocco at the World Cup was his 85th goal for his country - breaking the European record.

The Real Madrid star scored his fourth goal of the tournament as Fernando Santos' side picked up their first win from two outings and position themselves as the favourites to top their group.

Last term Belhanda scored three goals and laid on eight assists for teammates across 30 appearances, suggesting there is a creative spark there which could be of great use to Newcastle.

The Portugal forward celebrated his goal with a trademark run and soaring leap toward the corner flag at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Senegal remain the only side to have won after the first round of matches.

The North Africans had several chances against Portugal, almost all from set pieces, and three of them came in a five-minute spell early in the second half. Morocco's best chance at an equaliser came from Yohan Belhanda, but the Galatasaray man's header was saved brilliantly by Rui Patricio.

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However, they have never progressed beyond the group stages, managing only a lone win, against bitter rivals U.S. in 1998. Morocco impressed in qualification and only conceded one goal as they made it to the tournament in Russian Federation .

Spain squeezed past dogged Iran in their World Cup Group B encounter thanks to a fortuitous goal from Diego Costa, but the Europeans suffered a string of second-half scares.

Prior to this World Cup, Hungarian forward Ferenc Puskas held the record for the most senior global goals for a European nation with 84 goals between 1945 and 1956.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo shoots at goal from a free kick.

A further opening fell to Benatia, the Juventus defender neatly shifting the ball onto his left boot only to lash over the bar as Morocco's frustrations mounted.

Portugal looks well set to advance to the round of 16.

Ronaldo blazed over from 15 yards after a quick free-kick caught Morocco out, Guedes's miscued attempt rolling invitingly to the five-time world player of the year. They were only defending.

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