Cristiano Ronaldo became the first man to score in five World Cups as Portugal finally saw off Ghana to open Group H with a win in a five-goal thriller.

Portugal took control of the match from the first whistle, and nearly turned their early dominance of possession into a tangible reward — Ronaldo being thwarted by Lawrence Ati-Zigi, before heading wide at the far post a few moments later.

The ball was in the Ghana net just past the half-hour mark, via a typically assured Ronaldo finish, but the Portugal captain was adjudged to have fouled Alexander Djiku as he spun on the ball, and the strike was ruled out.

Portugal continued to toil into the second half but out of the blue they were handed a golden opportunity when Ronaldo was felled by Mohammed Salisu and stepped up to smash in his 118th international goal from the spot.

There was some debate as to whether the challenge warranted a penalty, but having already given the award, the referee was not told to change his decision by VAR.

Ghana responded strongly. Kudus stung the palms of Diogo Costa before getting away down the left and delivering a low cross that deflected off Danilo Pereira and fell perfectly for Andre Ayew to turn the ball in from close range

Ghana responded strongly. Kudus stung the palms of Diogo Costa before getting away down the left and delivering a low cross that deflected off Danilo Pereira and fell perfectly for Andre Ayew to turn the ball in from close range

This time it was Portugal's turn to find an answer, and they duly struck twice in three minutes to win it.

Bruno Fernandes was the architect of both, slipping passes through the Ghana backline for assured finishes from first Joao Felix and then Rafael Leao, the latter's first international goal.

Ghana did have renewed hope when Osman Bukari headed them back into it in the 89th minute — and then mocked Ronaldo with his celebration — before they almost snatched an unlikely draw right at the end, as Inaki Williams cleverly caught out Costa, only to slip at the crucial moment as he tried to nip in ahead of the goalkeeper.

For Ronaldo, the result means he is off and running in his bid to win one of the few trophies that has eluded him, in what will surely be his last World Cup.

It also put a different context on a difficult week, after his contract with Manchester United was terminated following his explosive, and highly critical, interview with Piers Morgan.