Moscow: Cristiano Ronaldo powered-home a fourth-minute header to give Portugal a 1-0 World Cup victory over Morocco that took them top of Group B on Wednesday and meant the unlucky North African side become the first to be eliminated from the tournament.
Ronaldo’s fourth goal of Russia 2018, following his hat-trick in the 3-3 draw with Spain, took the European champions to four points. Iran have three points and Spain one ahead of their meeting later on Wednesday.
Morocco, who had a real go at the Luzhniki Stadium but failed to convert their chances, are pointless having also lost 1-0 to Iran and cannot progress to the second round.
Portugal struggled to impose themselves and ended up defending for long spells, leaving coach Fernando Santos unimpressed. “We have to look at this, we lost control of the game,” he said.
“We misplaced a lot of passes, we lost confidence… it was inexplicable. If in a match against players like they have, if you don`t have the ball, they wear you down and you get into trouble.”
Despite their battling display, Morocco will rue the unforgivable defending that made all their subsequent good work irrelevant.