Didier Drogba came off the bench, but couldn't inspire his country to victory, as the Ivory Coast and Portugal battled to a 0-0 draw Tuesday in Group G action at the World Cup in South Africa.
The main storyline
Two words: Didier Drogba.
The Ivorian is considered one of the best strikers in the world and is an icon of African soccer.
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But the Chelsea star did not start the game, as coach Sven-Goran Eriksson took a conservative approach and limited his playing time. Drogba broke his right arm in a recent warm-up match and was only cleared to play today with a protective cast.
When Drogba entered the game as a substitute in the 66th minute, the throng of fans jammed inside the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium blew their vuvuzelas, the South African horns, at top volume in approval.
Sadly for the African spectators in attendance, he couldn't send the home happy. Drogba tried, but he was far from effective and had no influence on the game
Nor did Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, although he did hit the crossbar with a thunderous shot from 30 yards out in the 11th minute.
Ten minutes later, he picked up a yellow card for jawing with an Ivorian player in a silly and needless display of indiscipline. If Ronaldo earns a yellow card in Portugal's next encounter, he will be suspended in his country's final game of the group stage, so he will have to watch himself.
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What this result means
Both teams walk away with a point, which on the surface isn't bad, but the Ivory Coast has its work cut out. Its next game is against tournament favourite Brazil, and if it fails to win, it could be all over for Ronaldo and his cohorts.
Portugal can probably clinch a second-round berth if it takes at least four points from the next two games, including their Group G finale against the Brazilians.
Man of the match
Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho was immense, his reading of the game and timely tackles allowing him to break up countless attacks and keep the Ivorians off the scoreboard.
The Ivorian perspective
"It was a tight game not many occasions to score. I thought if any team was going to win, it was [us]. We created some more chances than they did. I am very, very happy with the performance." — coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
The Portuguese perspective
"The game was a just result given the chances Portugal had in the first half and Ivory Coast had in terms of the counter attack. One team had a specific strategy to contain and to counter attack." — Carlos Queiroz
The Ivory Coast takes on Brazil in Johannesburg on June 20 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 2 p.m. ET), while Portugal meets North Korea on June 21 in Cape Town (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 a.m. ET).