Ronaldo’s header ends Morocco’s World Cup campaign

Ronaldo’s header ends Morocco’s World Cup campaign

A fourth minute thumping header from Cristiano Ronaldo extinguished any hope of qualification for Tunisia from Group B of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Having lost their World Cup opener to Iran through an unfortunate own goal late into the game, Morocco needed at least a point to keep themselves in the running for a place in the last 16 but Ronaldo and Portugal weren’t having any of that as the Real Madrid man struck in the fourth minute to put Portugal ahead.

Ronaldo was then released with a through pass after Morocco lost possession in midfield but his shot was just wide of Munir’s goal. From then on, Morocco did all the playing but the North Africans toiled in vain lacking the crucial final ball. Portugal on the other hand remained threatening each time they had the ball as Munir was forced into a reflex save off Guedes’ effort in the 39th minute.

Morocco began the second half with even more intensity knowing they needed to get something from the game with their qualification hopes on the line, and Portugal’s Rui Patricio was soon forced into his first real save of the game.

Morocco continued to threaten with Ziyach and Amrabat on the right side of their attack and left of Portugal’s defence putting in dangerous crosses from time to time which were well dealt with by Pepe and Jose Fonte for Portugal.

With the clock winding down, Portugal decided to settle for a slim win and began to defend deep; thus inviting more pressure as Fonte threw himself at Ziyach’s strike in the first minute of added time. Another chance then fell to the Moroccan captain Medhi Benatia who failed to capitalise.

In the end, Ronaldo’s header proved just enough to take Portugal top of Group B and confirm Morocco’s elimination from the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Spain who played out an entertaining 3-3 draw with Portugal in their opening fixture will take on Iran later tonight as the race for qualification in Group B continues.

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