Ivory Coast and Portugal have played out a scoreless draw on a wet night in Portugal.
Ivory Coast: 0
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – Port Elizabeth
Referee: Jorge Larrionda (URU)
Yellow cards: CIV - Didier Zokora 7’, Guy Demel 20’
POR - Cristiano Ronaldo 20’
The match was tight at the beginning with a few tough tackles flying around but it took the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo to open it up and he was desperately unlucky not to score what would have been the best goal of the tournament so far just after the 10th minute when he unleashed from 25 yards but his thunderbolt struck the upright much to the dismay of the World Cup highlight reel developers.
About six minutes later, Ivory Coast’s Cheick Tiote tried his luck from long range but his swerving ball ended up carrying well over the bar and away to safety from a Portugal point of view.
Both sides were playing patiently although the match did look like it would produce some goals but the Ivorian players were making life very tough for Portugal when they were not in possession of the ball with a very organised formation in defence.
There was a great deal of respect being shown as the match turned into a scrappy affair towards the end of the opening 45 minutes with both sides focusing more on not conceding rather than scoring.
The early stages of the second half gave a completely different feel with the next best chance came just prior to the hour-mark when Portugal midfielder Deco chipped a left-footed ball towards Liedson but his header, despite being right on target, was well-held by Ivory Coast keeper Boubacar Barry.
Ivory Coast began to open up their game and actually enjoyed more attacking play in the first 15 minutes of the second term led by Gervinho as the rain swept over Port Elizabeth and on 66 minutes there was a rapturous applause for Didier Drogba who came on as a substitute just over a week after breaking his arm.
As the final quarter of an hour rolled along, the game was in need of somebody to stand up and become a hero for their nation but the game petered out and finished a 0-0 draw.
Boubacar Barry (gk), Kolo Toure, Didier Zokora, Salomon Kalou (Drogba 66’), Cheick Tiote, Gervinho (Keita 82’), Aruna Dindane, Siaka Tiene, Yaya Toure, Guy Demel, Emmanuel Eboue (Romaric 88’)
Subs - Didier Drogba (66’), Kader Keita (82’), Romaric (88’)
Subs - Simao (55’), Tiago (62’), Ruben Amorim (85’)