Loading...

Ivory Coast outplays Portugal but draws 0-0

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — Ivory Coast tied Portugal 0-0 at the World Cup on Tuesday, largely outplaying its higher-ranked opponent despite Didier Drogba only coming on as a late substitute.Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo rattled a 30-yard strike off the left post in the 11th minute, but Ivory Coast otherwise created the better chances."It was a tight game, not many occasions to score," Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said. "I thought if any team was going to win, it was we. We created some more chances than they did. I am very, very happy with the performance. If you think about discipline and organization, I think we were organized for all 90 minutes."Drogba came on as a 66th-minute substitute for fellow Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou after FIFA cleared him to play with a cast on his right arm, which he broke in a warmup match against Japan on June 4.He was ruled eligible only shortly before kickoff at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, and his entrance was greeted by huge cheers, with vuvuzelas drowning out the drums of Ivorian fans for the first time in the match.But Drogba had little impact on a defense that struggled to contain striker Gervinho, who tormented right back Paulo Ferreira until his 82nd-minute replacement by Abdul Keita.Still, Eriksson watched his star forward move comfortably, largely untroubled by an injury that had threatened to prevent him from taking any part in the monthlong World Cup."I spoke to him after training yesterday evening and he said he preferred to be on the bench," Eriksson said. "He said 'Boss, if you need me, I am there.' I hoped we would not need him but we wanted to win the game so we did what we did."We did not put any pressure on him."Ivory Coast had another injury problem late in the game when Kolo Toure went down clutching his leg and signaled to the bench for help.The central defender was examined behind the goal line for a couple of minutes and hobbled back into action, but needed repeated treatment to his left knee with just minutes left.Ronaldo's best chance came with a long, swerving shot that evaded goalkeeper Boubacar Barry but bounced off the left post.Drogba, sitting among the substitutes, reacted to the near miss by blowing out his cheeks and making the sign of the cross across his shoulders.Guy-Roland Demel brought down Ronaldo with a sliding foul in the 21st minute and referee Jorge Larrionda gave them both yellow cards for exchanging words with each other. Demel turned away from the referee without complaint but Ronaldo argued with the official, asking what he had done wrong.Both teams still have to play record five-time world champion Brazil and virtual unknown North Korea, who meet in Tuesday's other Group G match.


No comments:

Post a Comment