Portugal’s World Cup campaign continued yesterday with a 1-0 win over Morocco, eliminating their opponents in the process and giving themselves a great chance of reaching the last 16. Once again talisman Cristiano Ronaldo was the difference, scoring the only the goal in the 4th minute with a powerful header.

However, it was a far cry from his man of the match display against Spain, and his below par level of performance was shared by the majority of his team-mates on the day. Picking a standout player is a difficult task, but ultimately Seleção fans can point to a rock-solid showing between the sticks from their number one goalkeeper Rui Patrício.

It’s been a tumultuous past month or so for Rui Patrício to say the least, getting caught up in the madness going on at his now former club Sporting. The 31 year old looked set for a move to Italy with Napoli but earlier this week was announced by Wolves as the latest member of their Portuguese revolution. However the off-field dramas do not appear to have seriously affected Patrício as he put in a dependable display in a match that saw the Portuguese backline come under heavy pressure throughout the 90 minutes.


Portugal 1-0 Morocco match report


In terms of attempts on goal, Patrício was rarely seriously tested, gathering long shots with ease while also seeing his defence come to the rescue on a couple of occasions, notably centre-back Pepe making a crucial block in the second half.

However the standout moment of his performance came in the 57th minute, when he made arguably the save the of the tournament so far. A deep Morocco free kick was headed goalwards by Younés Belhanda but Patrício showed outstanding reflexes to leap to his right and palm the ball clear from danger. The attacking pressure Fernando Santos’ side faced during the match was relentless at times and this was indeed a timely reminder from Portugal’s number one that he was not about to beaten easily.

Patrício’s decision-making and dealings with crosses will also provide Santos a great deal of comfort, particularly as there could have been possible question marks over the goalkeeper’s confidence coming into the tournament after a very high profile and costly error for his former club Sporting on the final day of the 2017/18 Primeira Liga season.


Portugal payer ratings versus Morocco


Of course Ronaldo grabbed the headlines again with his latest record-shattering goal but there is a good central spine of this team in place for the European champions. Some of the wider and more creative players are struggling for form but William Carvalho had a strong game in defensive midfield while Pepe and José Fonte steadily improved at the heart of the defence as the game went on. With Patrício behind them in such good form too, Portugal are looking very hard to beat once again.

by Jamie Farr

 Related: PortuGOAL Figure of the Week - Rui Patrício

 

Comments (2)

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Thoughts after thinking about the mess: We seriously got punched in the face and our whole midfield backed down, we needed Danilo here to restore order, don't know why the first sub was Gilson, when we knew that Morocco was getting away with...

Thoughts after thinking about the mess: We seriously got punched in the face and our whole midfield backed down, we needed Danilo here to restore order, don't know why the first sub was Gilson, when we knew that Morocco was getting away with murder. Manuel Fernandes should have been playing. This American ref thought he was missing American Football too much, a real ref would have controlled the situation from the beginning. I personally think we should grow some and fight back, Raf was scared of getting injured again, don't blame him when you are playing against an idiot who is concussed. Guedes needs to score, otherwise sit and let another person take his place. Ronaldo stop diving - VAR - we could see everything now.
Next Game - Coach change this midfield and central defender, Fonte cannot cover for 90 minutes, Moutinho same boat. Big mistake not bringing Neves, he would have fought much harder than Gilson. Yesterday's results are why Carvalho won't get a chance somewhere else, it got physical and we backed down. Blueprint for the next game.

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Rui Patricio once again came up big in a international tournament demonstrating he is the greatest national team GK of all time. This is based on facts and demonstrated performance in big tournaments for all to witness and observe. He has been...

Rui Patricio once again came up big in a international tournament demonstrating he is the greatest national team GK of all time. This is based on facts and demonstrated performance in big tournaments for all to witness and observe. He has been clutch, saving us many times.

Ratings were fair and it is up to the midfield and young attacking players who are a bit soft and some are slow to play to their strengths. Play more physical with your limitations and posses the ball with composure. This is an attribute of all Portuguese players, time to play to your strengths. If you do it will open up the game and wear down the aggressive pressure we will face. There are no more excuses, you have faced two games with pressure, time to play to your roots even if you are physically limited.

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