Didier Drogba made a substitute appearance and Cristiano Ronaldo hit a post but the clash between Ivory Coast, who are also known as the Elephants, and Portugal in a World Cup Group G match on Tuesday finished in a goalless draw.
Portugal's Ronaldo rattled a post with a vicious long range free kick in the 11th minute but his team never came that close again to scoring against their African opponents.
Ivory Coast striker Drogba, who broke an arm just before the tournament, appeared as a 66th minute substitute wearing an approved plaster cast, but was also unable to put his name on the scoresheet.
Semi-finalists at the 2006 finals, Portugal struggled to make a serious impact and made their job of advancing from a fierce Group G — which includes Brazil and North Korea — no easier in a fluid match that yielded only a handful of goalscoring chances.
The draw will boost the confidence of the Ivory Coast, who enjoyed most of the possession and always looked dangerous with smooth passing and plenty of energy going forward.
“I thought our team should have won. It was us who had more chances, I think we were organised all 90 minutes. It's a point, it would be better with three, but we played well and handled it well,” Ivory Coast coach Sven Goran Eriksson said. “Both teams played like they didn't want to take big chances and lose. If you start to attack frantically against Portugal, they will kill you.”
The mood in the Portuguese camp was less upbeat.
“Of course, we're disappointed. We needed this win and we had chances to win. It's our first game, we're nervous, we're anxious. We need to focus on the next one now," midfielder Deco said. Gervais Kouassi, better known as Gervinho, proved himself a constant menace for the Portuguese defence with penetrating runs into the area that left Ricardo Carvalho and Bruno Alvez scrambling.