Fernandes thought Ronaldo got touch for first goal against Uruguay as Portugal advance

Captain would have equalled Eusebio's World Cup record as 2-0 win sends Portugal through to last-16

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Bruno Fernandes said he thought Cristiano Ronaldo got a touch on the ball for the midfielder's first goal in Portugal's 2-0 win over Uruguay on Monday, a result which sent his side through to the World Cup last 16.

Fernandes was credited with the goal after it was initially awarded to Ronaldo, who leapt to glance the ball past Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet in the 54th minute. However, the officials deemed the ball had sailed just over Ronaldo's head, denying the Portugal captain the chance to draw level with Eusebio as his nation's record World Cup goalscorer.

"The feeling I had was that Cristiano touched the ball. I was passing the ball to him," Fernandes said. "What matters is that we're going through to the next round after playing a very tough opponent."

Portugal have won their opening two games at the World Cup in Qatar, beating Ghana 3-2 last week before Monday's win over Uruguay, the team that knocked them out of the tournament held in Russia in 2018.

Fernandes, who was a teammate of Ronaldo's at Manchester United until last week when the five-time Ballon d'Or winner and the club parted ways acrimoniously, got his second goal in added time. With Ronaldo already substituted, Fernandes took over penalty-taking duties and scored from the spot.

Portugal manager Fernando Santos brushed aside suggestions from the media that, having already ensured qualification for the knockout phase, he might field a weakened Portugal side against South Korea to give key players a rest.

"First place isn't guaranteed," Santos said. "We will go for top spot, and not just because of Brazil."

Brazil are likely to win Group G which would mean they would then play the runners-up in Group H which is currently topped by Portugal.

Santos' men are due to play their third and final group match against South Korea on Friday.

Portugal v Uruguay player ratings

Asked about the severity of an injury to left-back Nuno Mendes, who was substituted early in the first half, Santos said he would wait and see the result of medical tests.

Portugal centre-half Danilo Pereira missed the Uruguay game after breaking three ribs in training and midfielder Otavio, who was an injury concern before Monday's game, was also left out.

Uruguay, backed by many to make a deep run in Qatar, now face early elimination unless they can beat a Ghana side buoyed by their thrilling 3-2 win over South Korea.

The South Americans sit bottom of the group on one point after two games, while Ghana occupy second on three points as the two sides prepare for a rematch of their infamous 2010 World Cup clash.

In South Africa 12 years ago, Uruguay reached the semi-finals after ousting Ghana on penalties.

Uruguay manager Diego Alonso has called on his side to improve for their must-win match against Ghana. EPA

Uruguay forward Luis Suarez deliberately handled the ball on the goalline deep into extra time to prevent a certain goal, with Asamoah Gyan then missing the subsequent spot-kick. Despite Suarez's dismissal, Uruguay made Ghana pay in the shootout.

However, Uruguay manager Diego Alonso dismissed the importance of that controversial match and insisted his side will improve for what will be a do-or-die encounter.

"It's a different story, for both of us," he said. "We will both go looking for qualification. Friday will be decisive but it's a very different story to what happened 12 years ago.

"The team has to loosen up and motivate itself more to play, like we did in the second half today. We need to take risks, to be the brave team of the qualifiers and the second half today."

Updated: November 29, 2022, 5:08 AM