By Mukwuzi Joseph
Ghana boss Otto Addo sarcastically congratulated Cristiano Ronaldo after his controversial penalty on Thursday night.
Portugal beat their African opponents 3-2 to open their World Cup campaign with a victory but there was more than a touch of controversy over the game. The match exploded into life in the second half when – who else – Ronaldo took center stage.
Southampton star Mohamed Salisu was adjudged to have fouled the 37-year-old in the box – who was playing in his first match since being released by Manchester United. Referee Ismail Elfath immediately pointed to the spot and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner made no mistake.
However, a closer look at the tumble showed that Salisu barely scraped Ronaldo’s heel before the Portuguese superstar fell to the floor. And Ghana coach Addo appeared to be less than pleased after.
Addo said: “We could have won a point. Our yellows were all well shown, but there were players from Portugal who should have seen it too. When they scored, everything changed and I think the referee didn’t make the right decision on the penalty kick. “
The goal saw Ronaldo become the first male player to score in five World Cups, having first netted in one all the way back in 2006. Talking about his goal, Addo added: “If someone scores a goal, congratulations. Congratulations… With special gifts from the referees.”
Former Swansea and West Ham star Andre Ayew – who plays his domestic football in Qatar – scored an equalizer for Ghana before goals from Joao Felix and Rafa Leao made it 3-1.
However, there was a twist to the tale when Osman Bukari grabbed one back while copying Ronaldo’s celebration.
And right at the death, there were hearts in mouths when Portugal keeper Diogo Costa forgot that Inaki Williams was behind him – only for the Ghana striker to slip when stealing the ball off him as the last action of the match.