Ronaldo earns Portugal 1-0 win as Morocco's hopes end

Ronaldo earns Portugal 1-0 win as Morocco's hopes end

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.

They qualified for the finals without conceding a goal in six matches yet somehow opted against marking the most risky attacker at the tournament in the six yard box when João Moutinho swung in a cross from a short corner and Ronaldo duly buried the header.

It was Ronaldo's 51st career hat-trick, and the 51st in the tournament's history, as the Real Madrid star became just the fourth player to score in four World Cups.

The European champions took the lead in the fourth minute when Cristiano Ronaldo charged into the box to bury his header and become Europe's top global scorer with 85 goals. A short pass to Joao Moutinho and he curled it in to the six-yard area as Ronaldo raced from behind to dive and hit a sublime header past the Moroccan keeper to send Portugal 1-0 ahead in the game.

Mehdi Benatia forced a smart low save from Rui Patricio at a corner for Morocco, before Hakim Ziyach skipped his way into the Portugal area, his goal-bound effort blocked by an outstretched leg.

Morocco knew defeat would spell the end of their 2018 World Cup hopes and they were outstanding for most of the encounter, dominating possession against Fernando Santos defensive-minded outfit.

How to watch Egypt vs
Russian Federation put pressure on the rest of the group with a 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia in their opening match on Thursday. Both Atleti's men are now a pairing for Uruguay at the World Cup and they were rock solid at the back for Oscar Tabarez's men.

Ronaldo had previously struggled at the World Cup but the five-time Ballon d'Or victor has flown out of the blocks in the 2018 edition so far.

Portugal face Morocco on Wednesday at the Luzhniki Stadium, four days after drawing 3-3 with Spain thanks to a Ronaldo hat trick.

Meanwhile, Portugal were just trying to waste time.

Morocco failed to convert their chances and are pointless and can not progress to the second round.

The North African team, who lost to Iran in their opening match courtesy of a 95th-minute own goal, was even more threatening after the break. A second loss for Morocco will all but eliminate them, while a Portugal loss will put them into a must-win scenario against Iran in a few days.

He first gave Portugal the lead in the third minute, successfully converting from the penalty spot after Nacho was deemed to have brought him down inside the box.

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