It took Cristiano Ronaldo four minutes to get himself on the scoresheet in Portugal’s second 2018 World Cup group stage match against Morocco on Wednesday afternoon.
The 33-year-old, who scored a hat-trick against Spain in Portugal’s opening game last week, powered home a diving header from a Joao Moutinho corner.
In the process, Ronaldo further boosted his chances of winning the Golden Boot award. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner currently sits top of the charts at this summer’s showpiece tournament, one goal ahead of both Russia’s Denis Cheryshev and Spain’s Diego Costa.
No further goals were scored at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and Portugal now sit joint-top of Group B alongside their Iberian neighbours.
However, they can ill-afford to slip up against Iran, who know that victory over the reigning European champions next Monday will be enough to book their place in the knockout stages.
Iran produced a spirited performance against Spain on Wednesday evening and were rather unfortunate to lose the match 1-0.
A repeat performance would give Portugal plenty of cause for concern. Despite their win over Morocco, Fernando Santos’s side were far from convincing over the course of the 90 minutes.
Ronaldo is so often the difference for Portugal
But they have Ronaldo in their ranks and the Real Madrid icon is so often the difference.
In 152 games for his country, the Portuguese legend has scored a remarkable 85 goals. He will be determined to increase his tally against Carlos Queiroz’s men next week.
His latest goal, the header against Morocco, was played down by some football fans.
They felt it was simply a case of terrible marking and couldn’t understand how Morocco’s defenders had left the world’s most lethal goalscorer on his own inside the penalty area.
Footage shows what Ronaldo did just before his goal
However, footage has emerged which suggests Ronaldo deserves a lot more credit for the goal.
He might be approaching his mid-thirties, but Ronaldo’s movement is still incredible. The footage shows him deliberately faking a forward run in order to deceive his marker and it worked to perfection.
Ronaldo bought himself that all-important yard of space and made no mistake with his close-range header.
It was no accident that he was left unmarked inside the box, then. Rather, it was his intelligent movement which created the goalscoring opportunity.
What a player.