Cristiano Ronaldo became the highest scorer for a European international team as he recorded the only goal of the game and handed Portugal a 1-0 win in their World Cup Group B game with Morocco in Moscow.
Ronaldo opened the scoring after just four minutes – just as he did against Spain in Sochi – when he met a Joao Moutinho cross and powered a header past Morocco goalkeeper Monir El Kajoui.
The landmark goal – his fourth at Russia 2018 – saw Ronaldo become Europe’s all-time leading international scorer on 85 goals, one ahead of Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas. Ronaldo now only has Iran’s Ali Daei ahead of him in the all-time international list on 109.
The goal didn’t silence the Moroccan boo boys in attendance at Luzhniki, and the Portugal skipper also had to deal with attentions of Morocco counterpart Mehdi Benatia, who twice went in late on the striker, escaping with a booking.
Morocco had a strong penalty shout on 25 minutes when they claimed Raphael Guerreiro had been dragged down by Noureddine Amrabat in the box. The Portugal defender had tugged at the Moroccan’s shirt, but replays showed Amrabat was equally culpable.
Morocco manager Herve Renard got a subsequent ticking off for making the ‘TV’ sign to signal the VAR should be consulted, a gesture which FIFA are clamping down on at Russia 2018.
Morocco almost leveled 10 minutes into the second half, but a fantastic save at full stretch by Rui Patricio denied a header from Younes Belhanda. Morocco enjoyed long spells of possession and continued to press, but failed to find the breakthrough they needed.
Portugal claimed their first World Cup win in Russia and moved to the top of the group on four points from two games.
The defeat meant Morocco became the first team to exit Russia 2018, as they were left with no points from two matches following their opening game defeat to Iran.
For Ronaldo it was a successful return to Luzhniki Stadium, the venue for his 2008 Champions League win with Manchester United a decade ago. The victory may have the Real Madrid winger dreaming of again getting his hands on silverware in Russia.