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 and meant the unlucky North African side became 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 on Wednesday.
Morocco, who had a real go at the Luzhniki Stadium but failed to convert their chances, are devoid of points, having also lost 1-0 to Iran last week, and mathematically unable to progress to the second round.
Despite their valiant display, Morocco will rue the unforgivable defending that made all their subsequent good work irrelevant.
They qualified for the World Cup without conceding a goal in six matches yet somehow opted against marking the most dangerous attacker at the tournament in the six-yard box when Joao Moutinho swung in a cross from a short corner and Ronaldo duly buried the header.
It was his 85th international goal, taking him beyond Hungarian Ferenc Puskas’s European record, with only Iran’s Ali Daei ahead of him on 109.