Portugal 1-0 Morocco Player Ratings: El-Ahmadi impresses

 

Ruthless Ronaldo – express.co.uk

Cristiano Ronaldo’s fourth-minute goal gave Portugal a 1-0 win over Morocco in Group B of Russia 2018. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Portugal

Rui Patricio – wasn’t overly stretched in the first half but his handling of simple shots and balls into the box meant that he still exuded an air of confidence. His impressive stops from Belhanda early in the second half will encourage Wolves fans, who saw their club sign him this week. 8

Cedric Soares – didn’t get forward quite as willingly as we have seen him do for Southampton over the last few seasons. Made a vital last-ditch block from Ziyech in the first half. 5
Pepe – as one might expect, he never shied away from a scrap and was part of some sly but effective game management at the end. Not a pretty performance but he did his job well. 7
Jose Fonte – doesn’t seem to have been the same player since his impressive performances at the Euros two years ago. While he didn’t exactly lose his aerial duels, he didn’t clear the danger as convincingly as one might have ideally liked and his second half slip allowed Benatia a guilt-edged chance. 4
Raphael Guerreiro – endured a torrid afternoon against the pace of Dirar and Amrabat. Played one or two nice passes into forward areas, which suggests that he might have been of more use in a more adventurous team performance. 2

Bernardo Silva – put in a nice free-kick for Ronaldo’s winner but, having played in a controlling Manchester City outfit, he perhaps wasn’t quite prepared for a contest in which his teammates didn’t dominate possession. 5
Joao Moutinho – a stalwart of this Portugal side, Moutinho’s experience was beneficial in the defensive phases of play. However, one would have liked him to impose himself further up the pitch; perhaps at 31 he lacks the energy required to do so. 4
William Carvalho – had been linked with a big move three years ago but injuries appear to have disrupted his development. His lack of mobility was a serious problem, because Morocco were able to play passes through the gaps he should have been covering into forward areas. 2
Joao Mario – baring one clever run behind Dirar that led to Ronaldo’s half-chance after the break, Mario was completely anonymous. Didn’t look willing to apply himself out of possession and Guerreiro suffered as a result. 3

Goncalo Guedes – guilty of wasteful finishing in the previous encounter with Spain and given that he didn’t even work especially hard here, Fernando Santos must serious question what he brings to his side. Admittedly showed good movement for one chance in the first half that he saw saved. 3
Cristiano Ronaldo – other than breaking the record for most goals scored in international football with 85? This score is not based on his 90-minute performance, which was very quiet, but rather his ability to ruthlessly take his first chance, which was the sole reason Portugal won. 9

Gelson Martins (on 59) – offered cover down the left channel that helped combat Amrabat’s threat. 6
Bruno Fernandes (on 70) – wasn’t able to show his creative qualities due to the nature of the task at hand. 5
Adrien Silva (on 89)

Morocco

Munir Mohamedi – couldn’t do an awful lot about Ronaldo’s goal but equally, he was barely tested thereafter. Did reasonably well to deny Gueddes in the first half. 5

Nabil Dirar – offered bags of energy down that right flank and supported Amrabat superbly. Perhaps caught out defensively on one or two occasions but a strong performance on the whole. 8
Mehdi Benatia – looked composed in possession, as we might expect from a defender with Champions League pedigree. Made his presence felt in the opposing box, although he should have done better than fire over from close-range on the hour mark. 8
Manuel Da Costa – guilty of letting Ronaldo get free from Silva’s free-kick for the first goal, but otherwise won the majority of balls that came his way. 6
Achraf Hakimi – battled hard but, ideally, he might have offered a touch more width. Appeared reluctant to trust his left foot which sometimes hindered Morocco’s play when space opened up down that left channel. 4

Karim El-Ahmedi – offered real battling qualities. On occasions he was a tad overzealous but that was very much an occupational hazard from a tenacious individual performance which set the tone for a high-intensity team display. 8
Mbark Boussafa – Morocco always had at least one midfielder pressing up alongside the main striker and Boussafa often took on that role. He showed wonderful energy and a desire to influence play. 7

Nordin Amrabat – a powerful runner down that right-hand side, Amrabat tore Guerreiro to shreads at times. Put a high number of crosses into the box from good areas and was a constant threat. 8
Younes Belhanda – despite being Morocco’s most advanced midfielder in possession, he was very rarely the most advanced when the team was pressing Portugal’s defence. Belhanda conserved his energy for what he did with possession, when he showed some nice touches and was unlucky to be denied with a curler and a header in the second half. 7
Hakim Ziyech – appears to have had discipline issues in the past but here we saw the best of Ziyech: positively-channelled aggression entwined with real technical ability. He was a constant threat from set pieces and, when he drifted across from the left channel to provide overloads, Portugal struggled to handle him. 7

Khalid Boutaib – worked hard but didn’t quite offer a reliable goalscoring presence, meaning Morocco weren’t quite able to hammer home the advantage when they were on top. 4

Ayoub El-Kaabi (on 69) – injected yet more raw energy into Morocco’s play, but didn’t provide the goalscoring touch the team was crying out for. 5
Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez (on 75) – helped provide overloads down the left channel. 6
Faycal Fajr (on 86)