Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ronaldo´s Confederations Cup man-of-the-match awards examined

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Jul 2017

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Portugal bring down the curtain on their Confederations Cup campaign on Sunday when they face Mexico in the third-place play-off.

The European champions will do so without Cristiano Ronaldo after the four-time Ballon d’Or winner became the proud father of twins and left the squad following the penalty shoot-out loss to Chile in Kazan.

As is the case most places he goes, the Real Madrid superstar certainly caused a stir in Russia and FIFA’s fan vote to decide the man of the match at each match saw him scoop the award in each of Portugal’s three group games.

After the last of these, a 4-0 win over New Zealand, even the man himself seemingly decided the situation was faintly ridiculous by giving his prize to Bernardo Silva.

So, how many Confederations Cup man-of-the-match awards did Ronaldo deserve? With the help of Opta data, we will try to find out.

PORTUGAL 2 MEXICO 2

Sometimes unfairly characterised as a player more interested in personal glory than the collective, Ronaldo was the consummate team man in Portugal’s opener.

Against Mexico his only attempts on goal came via a blocked free-kick in the first half and a follow-up volley against the crossbar – the latter not registered in the statistics as it was from the same attack where VAR intervened to rule out a Pepe goal for offside.

Ronaldo completed 16 passes in the opposition half, a number only bettered by midfielders William Carvalho and Andre Gomes.

These included his sumptuous assist for Ricardo Quaresma’s opening goal and he made three key passes. No one else in Fernando Santos’ side made more than one.

His 71.4 per cent success rate in duels was also the highest of any outfield player, while he recovered possession three times having lost it on nine occasions.

 

RUSSIA 0 PORTUGAL 1

Ronaldo landed a major blow against the host nation’s hopes in Moscow by heading the only goal in the eighth minute.

Three of the 32-year-old’s attempts during the game worked Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, with another three off target – placing him top in both the shooting categories.

His pass completion rate came in at a shade under 80 per cent and his duel success was again impressive, with only Real Madrid colleague Pepe harvesting a better percentage return at centre-back.

The assist for Ronaldo’s goal came from Borussia Dortmund full-back Raphael Guerreiro, while Carvalho and Adrien Silva both boasted in excess of 90 per cent pass completion.

NEW ZEALAND 0 PORTUGAL 4

Portugal’s first goal against a game but over-matched New Zealand came from Ronaldo via the penalty spot after their captain had earlier rattled the bar with a header.

He tested Stefan Marinovic in the New Zealand goal three more times, a number matched by fellow goalscorer Andre Silva.

Bernardo Silva netted Portugal’s second and the new Manchester City signing found the target with 26 of his 28 passes (92.9 per cent) – 22 of those completed in the New Zealand half – before departing at half-time with an ankle injury.

Ronaldo’s efforts in duels against a physical New Zealand defence were well down on his previous efforts at just 27.3 per cent from 11 contested.

Portugal’s final two goals, from Andre Silva and Nani, came after his 67th-minute substitution.

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SoccerNews

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