Millennium Post
Sports

Ronaldo in need of Portugal supporting cast to perform

Moscow: 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 knockout rounds after Mehdi Taremi fired a last-gasp chance into the side netting.

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