Cristiano Ronaldo benched again as Portugal face Morocco in FIFA World Cup quarters


DOHA: Cristiano Ronaldo starts on the bench once more in Portugal’s World Cup quarter-final clash against Morocco on Saturday.

Coach Fernando Santos dropped the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for the last 16 win over Switzerland and maintained a similar line-up against the North Africans.

Goncalo Ramos, who scored a hat-trick in the 6-1 victory, leads the line again, with support from Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and Joao Felix.

Ruben Neves replaces William Carvalho in defensive midfield for Santos’s only change, while Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo also remains on the bench with Ronaldo.

Morocco have been forced into two changes in defence, with Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazraoui both unable to play because of injury problems.

Jawad El Yamiq steps in at centre-back in place of the West Ham defender while Yahya Attiat-Allah plays at left-back in place of the Bayern Munich man.

Morocco maintain the same midfield and attack which helped them see off Spain in the last 16 and qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

Starting line-ups

Morocco: Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, Jawad El Yamiq, Romain Saiss (capt), Yahya Attiat-Allah, Sofyan Amrabat, Azzedine Ounahi, Selim Amallah, Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyri, Sofiane Boufal, Coach: Walid Regragui (MAR)

Portugal: Diogo Costa, Diogo Dalot, Ruben Dias, Pepe (capt), Raphael Guerreiro, Ruben Neves, Otavio, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, Goncalo Ramos, Coach: Fernando Santos (POR)

Referee: Facundo Tello (ARG)