Leao came off the bench and within a minute they had restored their lead with Joao Felix, then two minutes after that Leao scored with his first touch.
The response was largely unanimous from pundits, as Portuguese tactician and former Mozambique national team coach Luis Goncalves told A Bola that it was a “cautious” first half until “the substitution that changed the game in favour of Portugal. The introduction of Rafael Leao gave more depth, pace and creativity to the side.
“Rafael Leao’s arrival was decisive. Soon after, Joao Felix scored, then Rafael Leao made it 3-1 with a classy finish. Whenever Portugal picked up the pace, they created problems for the Ghanaian defence, but conceded for 3-2 when Joao Cancelo switched off.”
Speaking in his role as a pundit on RTE, former Liverpool player Hamann went even further in his analysis of the situation.
“Portugal look pedestrian with Ronaldo. I think Leao has got to come into the team because they just lack pace throughout the pitch, and if you haven’t got pace in modern football it’s very hard to create chances from open play.”
Ronaldo made history with that penalty as the first man to score in five different World Cup tournaments.