The last time these two teams met the match had to be abandoned after four Angola players were dismissed and another had to leave the field injured with no remaining substitutions. The score that day was 5-1 to Portugal; the previous encounter between the two teams had finished 6-0 to Portugal. Portuguese hopes were high heading into this match that they would open their FIFA World Cup 2006 campaign with a resounding win. Things appeared to be going according to plan when Pauleta shot narrowly wide in just the 12th second and subsequently went on to score in the 4th minute.
Initially, everything went Portugal’s way with Figo playing a commanding role down the middle of the park despite his advancing years but with each passing minute the Angolans began to find their feet and threatened the Portuguese goalkeeper, Ricardo, more and more. The star of the Angolan team, Akwa, attempted two bicycle kicks although neither came close to troubling the keeper but Mateus, Mendonca and Macanga had some fine attempts on goal.
The half ended 1-0 to Portugal with the Angolans feeling much more confident than they did after the opening five minutes. The second half was far from convincing by the Portuguese and even the man of the match Figo was unable to completely open up their former colony defensively.
Portugal enjoyed more of the possession, a greater number of shots and the more likely goal scoring opportunities and yet despite being the eventual victors and starting a world tournament on an unusually positive note, they failed to really instil the attacking flair that the team possesses from front to back.
Portugal gained the all important three points from their opening game, which is the most important thing at the end of the day but the fans jeering will undoubtedly still be in the ears of the players. In contrast, Angola come away having lost by just one goal proud of their achievements and with fans in very good form. You could almost be forgiven for thinking it was Angola who won this match and not the other way around.