Morocco became the next casualty for Africa after a Cristiano Ronaldo early goal was enough to confirm their departure from the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo made the difference again when his early header gave Portugal a 1-0 victory over Morocco on Wednesday to take the European champions to the verge of the World Cup last 16 and eliminate the North Africans.
After just four minutes of play Cristiano Ronaldo was the the right spot to connect home a corner which was not properly cleared by the Moroccan defence.
The Atlas Lions then took control of the game to push the Portuguese defence to their own half but they poor finish accounted for their inability to get a goal. The second half saw Renard Herve’s side continuing their dominance but all to no better output as they failed to convert the numerous chances created. The defence line led by Mehdi Benatia kept Cristiano Ronaldo quiet for a good number of the game after his goal.
The win in a cagey affair at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, filled to its 78,011 capacity on a partly cloudy afternoon, lifted Portugal to four points in Group B although they were far less impressive than against Spain.
Morocco remain on zero points and goals from two defeats and are the first team out of the tournament, regardless of the outcome of the Spain (one point) v Iran (three) game later in the day.
With 85 goals, the 33-year-old Ronaldo also became Europe’s most successful scorer of all-time, moving one ahead of former Hungary and Spain great Ferenc Puskas. Only Iran’s Ali Daei has more on 109.
Another African country, Egypt also lost their second game to Russia on Tuesday and the win for Uruguay has confirmed their departure as well.