Côte d’Ivoire hold sluggish Portugal to a draw

Portugal got their World Cup finals off to a stuttering start with a goalless draw against a spirited Côte d’Ivoire on Tuesday, a match that saw the return of Didier Drogba only 11 days after breaking his arm.

Semifinalists at the 2006 finals, Portugal struggled to make a serious impact and made their job of advancing from a fierce Group G — which includes Brazil and North Korea — no easier in a fluid match that yielded a handful of goal-scoring chances.

The Elephants opted to start without Drogba, who has yet to fully recover following surgery, but he came on as a substitute after 66 minutes to a rapturous reception by the Port Elizabeth crowd.

The draw will boost the confidence of the Côte d’Ivoire, who enjoyed most of the possession and always looked dangerous with smooth passing and plenty of energy going forward.

Gervais Kouassi, better known as Gervinho, came in to fill the void and proved himself a constant menace for the Portuguese defence with penetrating runs into the area that left Ricardo Carvalho and Bruno Alvez scrambling.

Côte d’Ivoire had the best of first-half action with Kouassi and Emmanuel Eboue commanding the flanks but struggling to create any meaningful attempts on goal on a chilly afternoon at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Under pressure
Cristiano Ronaldo, under pressure after underperforming in Portugal’s tumultuous qualifying campaign, looked lively early and was twice brought down when the Ivorian defence tried to thwart his dangerous runs on the edge of the box.

He almost got Portugal off the mark 11 minutes into the game when his superb long-range effort cannoned off the outside of the post with keeper Boubacar Barry beaten.

Cheik Tiote struck his 17th-minute free-kick just wide of the target and Kouassi came close with a stunning solo run, skipping round three defenders before his shot was blocked.

Salomon Kalou had an opportunity to put Côte d’Ivoire ahead on 54 minutes when he found space on the edge of the area but struck tamely into the hands of Eduardo.

Liedson had a chance for Portugal on 58 minutes when he headed a neat cross from Deco into the hands of Barry and Kousassi almost took the lead for the African side near the hour mark when he headed just over the bar.

Danny started on the wing for Portugal in place of the match-weary Simao Sabrosa and never found his feet, despite good form in warm-up matches. He was replaced by Simao shortly the break.

Portugal stepped up a gear later in the game without looking likely to score, with Ronaldo’s darting runs failing to deliver. — Reuters


Salie-Hlophe accuses Goliath of lying and racism

In response to Goliath’s gross misconduct complaint, Salie-Hlophe says Goliath has ‘an unhealthy obsession with my marriage’

Treasury is still seeking SAA funds

The government has committed an additional R2-billion to the airline, but has yet to pay it out

‘There were no marks on his neck’, Neil Aggett inquest...

The trade unionist’s partner at the time he was detained at John Vorster Square says she now believes his death was not a suicide

Press Releases

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.