World Cup 2022: Cristiano Ronaldo's controversial penalty sparks Portugal eruption, win over Ghana

DOHA, Qatar — Portugal erupted in the second half of its 2022 World Cup opener, and beat Ghana 3-2, but only after a controversial penalty, won and converted by Cristiano Ronaldo, sprung the game to life.

Portugal had been superior but impotent for the opening hour, but finally unlocked a resistant Ghana defense when Ronaldo tumbled to the ground in the penalty area. He’d stretched for a ball alongside Ghanaian defender Mohammed Salisu. Both appeared to contact it. Replays appeared to show a completely clean play.

The referee, though, pointed to the penalty spot. His video assistant didn’t intervene. Ronaldo converted the spot kick, and the eruption began.

It was the first of five goals in less than 25 minutes. Ghana got two. Portugal, though, got three, from Ronaldo and the two young attackers who’ll someday replace him, Joao Felix and Rafael Leao.