Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal saw Portugal beat Ghana 2-1 in Brasilia, but it proved academic as both sides crashed out of the FIFA World Cup.
Coming into the final Group G clash, both sides knew only victory would give them a chance of progressing to the second round, and even then they were dependent on the game between Germany and the United States, with a draw in Recife good enough to see those two teams through regardless of events in the capital.
Portugal, needing a five-goal swing to overtake the USA in second place, went in front after 30 minutes when Ghana defender John Boye’s wild clearance from Miguel Veloso’s cross diverted the ball over goalkeeper Fatawu Dauda and into the net.
Ghana responded in the second half, Asamoah Gyan’s header making him the highest ever scorer for an African nation at World Cup finals, surpassing the mark of five set by Cameroon’s Roger Milla.
With Germany beating the Americans 1-0 on Thursday, a 2-1 victory for Kwesi Appiah’s men would have seem them through and Abdul Majeed Waris was guilty of a glaring miss shortly after Gyan’s equaliser, nodding wide from close-range with no defenders around him.
They were left to rue that miss 10 minutes from time, Ronaldo firing home from 12 yards after a defensive mix-up between Jonathan Mensah and Dauda, the keeper flapping hopelessly at a high ball.