Jun 20, 2018 at 1pm UK at ​Luzhniki Stadium
Attendance: 78,011
Ronaldo (4')
Silva (90')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Benatia (40')

Live Commentary: Portugal 1-0 Morocco - as it happened

Live Commentary: Portugal 1-0 Morocco - as it happened
© Reuters
Relive Sports Mole's live coverage of the 2018 World Cup Group B match between Portugal and Morocco, which finished 1-0.

Cristiano Ronaldo became Europe's all-time leading scorer in international football as he registered in Portugal's 1-0 win over Morocco at the 2018 World Cup on Wednesday afternoon.

Ronaldo's fourth-minute goal moved him past the legendary Ferenc Puskas onto 85, and now only Iran's Ali Daei has scored more international goals (109) than the Real Madrid forward.

The victory has moved Portugal onto four points in Group B, while Morocco have been eliminated from the competition due to their second defeat in Russia.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

12.01pmAfternoon all! Sports Mole's live 2018 World Cup coverage continues from Moscow as Portugal face Morocco in Group B. Portugal opened their tournament with a 3-3 draw against Spain last week, while Morocco suffered a 1-0 defeat to Iran. It is a huge match in this section!

12.04pmThese two nations have only ever met once before in international football, with Morocco recording a 3-1 victory during the 1986 World Cup. A victory for Portugal this afternoon would see them take a big step towards the knockout round of the tournament - eliminating Morocco in the process.

12.07pmRight, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from Moscow. Has Portugal boss Fernando Santos made any changes from the team that started against Spain? What about Morocco, any alterations from their opener with Iran? Let's run through the two XIs...


PORTUGAL: Patricio; Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro; Mario, Moutinho, Carvalho, B.Silva; Guedes, Ronaldo

MOROCCO: Munir; Diarar, Benatia, Da Costa, Hakimi; El Ahmadi, Boussoufa; N.Amrabat, Belhanda, Ziyech; Boutaib

12.13pmPortugal boss Fernando Santos has made one change to the team that started against Spain last time out, with Joao Mario taking the place of Bruno Fernandes on the left. Goncalo Guedes keeps his spot alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in the final third of the field, while William Carvalho will again join Joao Moutinho in the middle of the park. No changes in the back four despite shipping three against Spain.

Cristiano Ronaldo scores his side's second during the World Cup group game between Portugal and Spain on June 15, 2018© Reuters

12.16pmAs for Morocco, head coach Herve Renard has made three changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Iran, with Manuel da Costa, Nabil Dirar and Khalid Boutaib taking the places of Romain Saiss, Amine Harit and Ayoub El Kaabi. Nordin Amrabat, Achraf Hakimi and Medhi Benatia, however, are all in the XI.

12.19pmSo there we have it. The two teams are in, and we are now just about 40 minutes from kickoff in Moscow. I shall speak about Morocco a little bit later, but let's start with Portugal. As mentioned above, Santos's side started their Group B campaign with a 3-3 draw against Spain on Friday night.


12.25pmPortugal led 1-0 and 2-1 against Spain on Friday night before Fernando Hierro's side took a 3-2 lead in the second period. Ronaldo completed his hat-trick by scoring a stunning late free kick, however, as Portugal picked up a point against their Iberian rivals. Spain are in action against Iran this evening, and a win for Santos's team this afternoon would place them in a strong position in the group.

12.28pmPortugal finished fourth at the 2006 World Cup, before reaching the last-16 stage of the 2010 competition. The Iberian nation went out in the group stages of the 2014 competition, however, and they are still seeking their first World Cup success. Can Ronaldo lead them to glory this summer?

12.32pmPortugal will finish their Group B campaign against Iran on Monday night, and that could be a very interesting match if Iran were to pick something up against Spain tonight. That said, even if Iran lose to Spain then they would still qualify with a victory over Portugal in their final group match.


12.38pmTaking into account friendlies, Portugal have actually only won one of their last five games, and they were fortunate to have a player with the genius of Ronaldo against Spain. This is another big game for the Euro 2016 winners, and they will be looking to the Real Madrid forward for inspiration once again.

12.42pmAs mentioned, Morocco opened their Group B campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Iran last time out. It was actually their first defeat in any competition since June 2017, and the manner of the loss would have hurt as they conceded in the 95th minute to leave themselves in a difficult position in the section.

12.45pmThis is just the fifth time that Morocco have qualified for a World Cup, and they have only been past the group stage of the competition on one previous occasion – 1986. They fell in the group stage of both the 1994 and 1998 competition, before failing to qualify for the finals between 2002 and 2014.


12.52pmHerve Renard's team really needed to pick something up from the clash with Iran when considering that their last two group matches are against Portugal and Spain. Even if Morocco manage to prevent Portugal from winning this game, they will still more than likely need to beat Spain.

12.55pmHere we go then; both sets of players have joined us on the pitch ahead of kickoff in Moscow this afternoon. Can Portugal move onto four points in Group B? Stay tuned right here to find out!

0 minKICKOFF! Morocco kick things off in Moscow...

2 min... Benatia is straight onto Ronaldo as the Real Madrid forward gets his first touch of the match. Morocco break down the other end with Amrabat, but Portugal manage to clear their lines. Fast start.

2 minCHANCE! Boutaib heads a Hakimi cross just wide of the Portugal post!

4 minIt has been a really good start from Morocco, with Portugal being forced to defend in these early stages. You do get the feeling that Renard's team need to score the first goal in this game.

5 minGOAL! Portugal 1-0 Morocco (Ronaldo)

6 minOh my goodness! Ronaldo becomes the all-time European goalscorer in international football as he heads a Moutinho corner into the back of the net from close range. He is off once again!

7 minJust incredible...

9 minThe response from Morocco has been pretty good, and a mistake from Cedric sees Boutaib break into a dangerous position, but Fonte is on the cover to clear Portugal's lines once again.

10 minHalf-chance for Ronaldo, but he drags a low attempt just wide of the Morocco post.

12 minSAVE! Smart save from Patricio as the Portugal goalkeeper keeps out a close-range header from Benatia. Morocco are not sitting back here as they attempt to level the scores.

14 minMorocco continue to threaten as they deliver high balls into the Portugal box, and Da Costa heads wide of the post from a deep cross. Portugal are coming under pressure in this match.

16 minMorocco are moving the ball nicely as they continue to break on Portugal, who have not had too much since Ronaldo headed them into an early lead in Moscow. Mario has been drifting inside the Portuguese, but Morocco have been tight defensively in the last 10 minutes or so here.

18 minJust a reminder that Morocco would be eliminated from the World Cup if they lose this afternoon, and they are playing like they desperately need a goal. Dirar breaks into a wide position before delivering low towards Belhanda, but the referee had spotted the linesman's offside flag.

20 minIt is a very good game of football here as Morocco continue to press Portugal high up the field.

22 minPossession football from Portugal in the last couple of minutes as they attempt to move forward, but Morocco are the better team at the moment as they continue to force the issue.

23 minPatricio is down to keep out a long-range effort from Ziyech.

25 minRonaldo hits the deck in agony following a late challenge from El Ahmadi, which was poor.

26 minRonaldo is back on his feet, but I suspect that the Real Madrid forward would not have forgotten that. Morocco have been the better team this afternoon, but they are still 1-0 behind in Moscow.

28 minPortugal cannot even complete a pass at the moment, with Morocco gaining more and more encouragement. It would be no exaggeration to say that Portugal have not threatened since Ronaldo made the breakthrough in the fourth minute. Little over 15 minutes of the first half remaining here.

30 minRonaldo continues to be booed by the Morocco fans inside the stadium, and indeed cheered when he loses the ball. Not too much to report in terms of clear chances in the last few minutes here.

31 minPortugal have a free kick in a very dangerous area as Dirar fells Mario...

32 min... Ronaldo strikes his free kick straight into the Morocco wall.

34 minMuch better from Portugal in the last couple of minutes as they keep the ball in Morocco's half of the field. That said, a long passing move ends with Mario's cross being cleared by Da Costa.

35 minEl Ahmadi fires a long-range effort over the Portugal crossbar.

37 minThere have been some tasty challenges in the first period, but the referee has not yet issued a card. Cedric is the latest player to escape following a high and clumsy challenge on Morocco's Boutaib.

39 minLittle over five minutes of the first period remaining, and Ronaldo's early header is still the difference. We have seen very little from the likes of Bernardo and Guedes in the first half here.

40 minSAVE! Smart save from the Morocco goalkeeper as Munir keeps out a strike from Guedes, who had broken into a dangerous position. Really should have found the back of the net there!

40 minBOOKING! Benatia (Morocco) has been booked for a late challenge on Ronaldo.

42 minStop-start game at the moment as late challenges continue to arrive from both teams.

44 minGuerreiro does well to cut out a long-range pass from Hakimi as Morocco continue to threaten in the latter stages of the first period. Portugal could do with the half-time break to regroup here.

45+1 minBelhanda is down receiving treatment following a stray arm from Carvalho.

45+2 minWe are into the second of three additional minutes at the end of the first period here.

45+3 minCLOSE! Benatia just fails to meet a flick from Belhanda as Morocco threaten from a corner once again. Portugal have really rode their luck in the first half of this football match.

45+4 minHALF-TIME: Portugal 1-0 Morocco

1.49pmSo there we have it; the referee brings the first period to a close with Portugal leading 1-0 courtesy of an early header from Ronaldo, who has become Europe's leading international goalscorer. Morocco have had plenty of positive moments, but have simply been unable to find the back of the net.

1.54pmSTATISTICS! Morocco actually shaded the first-half possession with 52%, while they managed seven attempts - two of which were on target. Portugal, meanwhile, hit the target with two of their five attempts. Just the one yellow card to report, and that came for Benatia in the 40th minute for a late challenge on Ronaldo. As expected, the Real Madrid forward has come in for some rough treatment!

1.59pmBENCH WATCH! Morocco boss Renard has a number of attacking options on his bench this afternoon, with the likes of S Amrabat, El Kaabi and En Nesyri all capable of making a difference in the second period. As for Portugal, head coach Santos has options in the shape of Bruno Fernandes, Gelson Martins, Ricardo Quaresma and Andre Silva. Plenty of talent in reserve this afternoon.

46 minRESTART! Portugal resume the action here...

47 min... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, you suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period develops here.

49 minGood work from Ronaldo as the Portugal attacker flicks the ball into the path of Guedes, but Benatia comes across to clear for a corner. A second goal for Portugal at this stage would be huge.

50 minFonte heads narrowly wide of the Morocco post, but the flag had been raised for a foul.

52 minRonaldo breaks onto a loose ball inside the Morocco box, but the Real Madrid attacker fires over the crossbar. I think that one is still travelling as I write this; Ronaldo fired it into orbit!

54 minAmrabat dances past a couple of challenges in a wide position before delivering into the Portugal box, but Cedric does well to make the clearance. Morocco are on the front foot at the moment.

56 minAmrabat continues to cause Portugal problems in a wide position, and Patricio has to make a save when Belhanda meets a smart pass from Amrabat. Again it is good football from Morocco here.

57 minSAVE! World-class save from Patricio to keep out a header from Belhanda!

58 minMorocco deliver another deep free kick into the Portugal box, but the Iberian nation clear their lines, and Portugal is away down the other end. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining in this one.

59 minPORTUGAL SUB! Gelson Martins replaces Bernardo for Portugal.

61 minCLOSE! Another chance for Morocco; this time for Benatia as the centre-back fires over the crossbar from outside the Portugal box. Opportunities continue to arrive here.

63 minStill a lot of football to be played in this match, and Morocco continue to move the ball into Amrabat, who is having a super game. It is still 1-0 to Portugal, however, despite their struggles here.

65 minPortugal just cannot relieve the pressure here as Morocco continue to force the issue.

67 minStill a lot of football to be played in this match, and Morocco deserve to be at least level. As it stands, they are heading out of the competition, which would be harsh considering their display here.

68 minMorocco have a free kick in a dangerous area as Guerreiro fells Belhanda...

68 min... Ziyech fires his free kick over the Portugal crossbar.

70 minMOROCCO SUB! Boutaib is replaced by El Kaabi for Morocco.

70 minPORTUGAL SUB! Bruno Fernandes replaces Mario for Portugal.

72 minPortugal still cannot keep the ball; they really have been poor this afternoon.

74 minMorocco continue to win free kicks in an advanced position, and sooner or later they have to make one of these count. Morocco are heading out of the competition as things stand in this one.

76 minMOROCCO SUB! Belhanda is replaced by Carcela for Morocco.

78 minPortugal boss Santos has one permitted change left in this match, and it would not be a surprise to see him make it in the next few minutes. Too many in a Portuguese shirt have struggled in this one.

80 minBenatia heads another Morocco free kick wide of the post from close range.

82 minPortugal manage to scramble the ball clear once again as Morocco threaten from another corner. You do get the feeling that there is going to be another goal in this match; there has to be.

83 minDirar strikes over the Portugal crossbar from distance.

84 minPortugal have a free kick just outside the Morocco box as Ronaldo is brought to the deck...

85 min... Ronaldo fires his free kick straight into the wall before going down inside the box, but the referee is not interested. The Real Madrid forward might have been booked for simulation there.

86 minMOROCCO SUB! El Ahmadi is replaced by Fajr for Morocco.

89 minPORTUGAL SUB! Adrien Silva replaces Moutinho for Portugal.

90 minTime is running out for Morocco as we head into the final moments here.

90+1 minZiyech has a shot deflected over the Portugal crossbar by Pepe!

90+2 minWe are into the second of five additional minutes at the end of this match.

90+3 minBOOKING! A.Silva (Portugal) is booked for a foul on Amrabat.

90+4 minBenatia lifts the ball over the Portugal crossbar as Morocco pass up another chance.

90+5 minPortugal are almost there, and it appears that Morocco will be eliminated from the competition despite a very impressive game against the Iberian nation. Santos' team are almost there.

90+6 minFULL-TIME: Portugal 1-0 Morocco

2.55pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Portugal recording a 1-0 win as they move to the top of Group B - eliminating Morocco from the competition in the process. Ronaldo is the difference once again. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again, but be sure to stick around for more World Cup coverage this afternoon! Until next time!

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Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring during the Euro 2016 Group F match between Hungary and Portugal on June 22, 2016
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