Ronaldo in need of Portugal supporting cast to perform

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Jun 2018 12:24:47




CRISTIANO Ronaldo’s off-night against Iran nearly cost Portugal their World Cup dream and underlined the stark need for his team-mates to contribute more in support of the Real Madrid superstar.Ronaldo carried Portugal through their first two group games, hitting a memorable hat-trick in a 3-3 draw with Spain before netting the winner in a gritty 1-0 victory over Morocco.That left the European champions requiring just a point from their clash with Carlos Queiroz’s Iran in Saransk, but an uncharacteristic display from Ronaldo had them sweating over a place in the last 16. The five-time world player of the year missed a penalty that would have given Portugal a 2-0 lead, Ronaldo was then perhaps fortunate to receive just yellow after an elbow on Iran defender Morteza Pouraliganji.

A disputed Iran penalty set up a tense final few minutes for Portugal, who only advanced to the knock-out rounds after Mehdi Taremi fired a last-gasp chance into the side netting.
Qualification was at last assured, albeit with an upcoming tie against Uruguay rather than hosts Russia, but Ronaldo was far from impressed. “I understand, it’s normal. The best players in the world face that when there isn’t an opportunity to really make it happen,” said Portugal boss Fernando Santos.