Stars dampen Durban party spirit

2010-06-26 00:00

FOR a clash that had been hyped since the draw was made last December, Brazil and Portugal delivered some rather dreary football in a goalless draw at the Moses Mabhida Stadium last night.

With both sides virtually assured of a spot in the last 16, they seemed more than happy to kick chunks out of each other instead of producing some of the excellent play that marked their previous group matches.

Durban, which had come to a virtual stand-still yesterday, was left feeling somewhat hollow after getting used to goals or drama in the previous four matches at “the Moses”.

Star-laden as both sides were, no one really stood out in a game dominated by the whistle of trigger-finger referee, Benito Archundia of Mexico.

The man in the middle flashed seven yellow cards in the first half alone, such was the feisty edge between the two Portuguese-speaking nations.

Cristiano Ronaldo, whose very first touch was greeted with an almighty roar, cut a very frustrated figure as he was stranded upfield while his team-mates sought him out with ambitious balls over the immaculate Lucio and Alex in central defence.

Ronaldo had a few shots from range but, in the main, the world’s costliest player had an evening of few opportunities.

At the other end, Luis Fabiano could not add to his two goals in the competition, as he was left frustrated by a lack of service.

Without Kaka and Robinho, the five-time champions looked a rather average unit, and they will be happy to welcome back the Real Madrid playmaker.

Right-back Maicon and stand-in winger Dani Alves came close for the Brazilians in a niggly first half-hour, while Tiago’s ambitious volley from outside the area was Portugal’s best effort.

Nilmar then hit the bar with a left-foot shot after some slack defence by the Portuguese, and Tiago earned himself one of the many cautions for a pathetic dive at the other end.

Maicon tried a shot from almost the corner in a bid to liven things up, but it was the respective coaches who were working up more of a sweat.

Dunga and Carlos Quieroz both had reasons to spring out of their seats, as both sides added to the poor show by showing scant regard for fair play.

Felipe Melo was the worst culprit, handling a good-looking ball over the top for Ronaldo. Quieroz — and half the stadium — thought Melo should have seen red, but he survived that before being taken off just before the break.

Nilmar showed some neat touches, but his final act let him down — much to the chagrin of the pacing Dunga on the sidelines.

Fabiano headed just wide from a Maicon cross, before Ronaldo scuffed his first shot on target.

The introduction of Simao for the Portuguese livened up proceedings, but the opener was still not forthcoming.

A determined run by Ronaldo on 60 minutes gave Raul Meireles a half-chance, but Inter Milan stopper Julio Cesar dived in bravely to prevent the goal.

Simao continued his energetic display, and the crowd rose expectantly when he found Ronaldo in the box on 76 minutes.

But his shadow for the entire game, the peerless Lucio, was on hand to provide the pressure as Ronaldo’s shot went over the top.

Ramires had a shot deflected towards the top corner right at the death, but Eduardo was alert enough to parry it away and seal the goalless draw that no one had foreseen.

With both sides through to the last 16, one can only hope that the do-or-die atmosphere of knock-out football brings out the best in them.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.