World Cup: Portugal beat Angola 1-0 | india | Hindustan Times
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World Cup: Portugal beat Angola 1-0

Pauleta's fourth minute strike proved enough to secure 3 points for his side. Schedule | Teams | Interviews | Photos

india Updated: Jun 12, 2006 16:14 IST

Portugal held off spirited debutants Angola to open their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 win here to place them atop Group D with Mexico.

Luis Felipe Scolari's side, missing influential midfielder Deco through injury, were quick out of the blocks with Pauleta near to scoring in the opening seconds with an angled shot from the left.

The Paris Saint Germain striker did not have to wait long before making up for that miss when Luis Figo left Angola defender Jamba for dead with Pauleta tapping in his skipper's cross from close range in the fourth minute.

It was the striker's 47th goal in 83 international appearances.

Portugal were pacy in midfield with some clever trickery from Cristiano Ronaldo, who picked up the first booking of the game, causing Angola trouble.

But just as a rout was in the offing the Africans, having been all at sea, began to find their rhythm. Star striker Akwa produced an adventurous bicycle kick and then Portugal keeper Ricardo had to be at full stretch to keep out a shot from Andre.

Just before the break Angola keeper Joao Ricardo produced an equally fine save to deny the omnipresent Ronaldo to keep the 750-1 underdogs well and truly in it.

Angola coach Luis Oliveiro Goncalves swopped the tireless Akwa for fellow forward Pedro Mantorros on the hour mark, with Scolari bringing on Costinha for Ronaldo.