• Ronaldo hits woodwork as Drogba only plays 25 minutes
New Zealand 1-1 Slovakia
Ivory Coast 0-0 Portugal
Brazil vs North Korea
Honduras vs Chile-1.30pm
Spain vs Switzerland-4pm
S.Africa vs Uruguay-8.30pm
IVORY Coast and Portugal entered the World Cup fray yesterday and produced a goalless draw marked by Didier Drogba’s return to action just ten days after surgery on his broken arm.
The African superstar, wearing a protective cast, was introduced as a second half substitute but he was unable to tip the balance in his countrymen’s favour in the Group G clash.
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo had the best chance to break the stalemate on a crisp winter’s afternoon in the first half when the Real Madrid winger’s 25m shot rattled Boubacar Barry’s left post in the 10th minute.
Barry’s opposite number Eduardo was let off the hook when shortly after Siaka Tiene’s curling long range freekick edged wide.
Another Ivorian, Ismael Tiote, then watched as his effort went over the Portuguese crossbar.
The Ivory Coast, the last of the six teams from Africa to enter the World Cup fray in South Africa, were giving as good as they got against their rivals from Europe ranked third in the world.
On 66 minutes manager Sven Goran Eriksson unleashed Drogba, who came on for his Chelsea teammate Kalou to by far the biggest cheer of the afternoon.
As the rain came down Ronaldo thought he had put the 2006 semifinalists into the lead but Larrionda had already whistled for a foul by Liedson.
But moments later, a Drogba-inspired Ivory Coast had Portugal on the hop in time added on but he miscued his shot and man-of-the-match Ronaldo and co. escaped with a point.
The result left Ghana as the only one of the six African teams playing in this first ever World Cup in Africa to have won their opening first round match.