Portugal pip Morocco as Uruguay beat Saudis

MOSCOW,20th June: Cristiano Ronaldo became Europe's all-time leading scorer as Portugal beat Morocco 1-0 in their FIFA World Cup Group B match here at the Luzhniki Stadium here on Wednesday.

Ronaldo sent Portugal ahead in the fourth minute by outmuscling his marker and firing in a bullet header after a Joao Moutinho corner at Luzhniki Stadium, reports Xinhua news agency. The 33-year-old Real Madrid star has now scored 85 international goals, surpassing the mark held by Hungary legend Ferenc Puskas.

His strike here followed a hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain in their opening World Cup match on Friday. This result all but eliminates Morocco from the tournament while Portugal are almost guaranteed of a berth in the knockout stage, even before their last group fixture against Iran on Monday.

It was not a vintage performance from Portugal as the reigning European champions seemed content to allow Morocco to control possession while creating few chances on the counterattack. Fortunately for Fernando Santos's men, the African side's lack of quality in the final third proved telling as a number of chances went begging.

Luis Suarez marked his 100th international cap by sending Uruguay into the last 16 of the World Cup as the striker benefited from some poor goalkeeping to eliminate Saudi Arabia with a 1-0 win on Wednesday. Suarez tapped in midway through the first half after keeper Mohammed Al-Owais failed to grab the ball on a corner. The goal put Uruguay second in Group A with a maximum six points behind hosts Russia.

Saudi Arabia, who have not won a World Cup game since their debut in 1994, have zero points, just like Egypt, who lost 3-1 to Russia on Tuesday. Depending on the result of their last group game against Russia, Uruguay will take on either Spain, Portugal or Iran, who are still on course in Group B for a place in the quarter-finals.

Suarez’s goal was by no means pretty, but it did the trick. At least Suarez, who missed three sitters in Uruguay’s 1-0 opening win against Egypt, was his vintage efficient self with his 52nd international goal although he will not have dismissed fears he was not 100 percent fit.

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