The Portuguese extended their unbeaten run to 16 games Portuguese fans jeered their team for its sluggish play

COLOGNE: Portugal had a harder time than expected against World Cup newcomer Angola.

The Portuguese were still happy to come away with a 1-0 win on Sunday in their opening Group D match.

Portugal failed to impress for most of the match, however, and by the end the team was listening to the jeers of a crowd frustrated by its sluggish play.

Pauleta scored his record 47th goal for Portugal in the fourth minute, tapping in after captain Luis Figo sliced through the Angolan defence and drew out the goalkeeper.

The Portuguese extended their unbeaten run to 16 games over the past 16 months but will regret failing to score more against a lower-ranked team.

Angola, an impoverished former Portuguese colony in Africa whose players are mostly at lesser-known clubs, occasionally tested the jittery Portuguese defence but lacked sophistication in midfield.

Portugal, making its fourth World Cup appearance, largely outplayed the Angolans in the early stages. But it faded badly, allowing the Angolans back into the game and keeping the scoreline in doubt.

By the end, the Portuguese had lost their charm and German fans in the crowd were cheering for the Angolan underdogs.

Missed chances

Pauleta, Portugal's all-time leading scorer, twice came close to stretching Portugal's lead in the first 15 minutes.

He side-footed past the post after Simao Sabrosa broke from the kickoff, then volleyed over the bar when the Angolan goalkeeper charged off his line.

Portugal lined up without midfield playmaker Deco, who was hurt in training last week.

Sabrosa took Luis Figo's role on the wing while the captain moved into Deco's usual spot.

The Portuguese were having it all their own way until Angola found its composure midway through the first half and began to even things out.

Mateus had a long-range shot and then captain Fabrice Akwa attempted a bicycle kick that went over the crossbar.

The Portuguese defence, where Fernando Meira has replaced Jorge Andrade in the centre, looked shaky.

Akwa, Mateus and Kalanga probed for an opening but the best chance came at the other end where Cristiano Ronaldo headed against the crossbar in the 30th.

A thundering shot from Andre Macanga forced Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo Pereira to dive at full stretch to keep the ball out.

Ronaldo almost made it 2-0 seconds before halftime when he had a fierce shot saved by the goalkeeper.

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari spent more time standing on the touchline in the second half, barking orders at his players who weren't making enough of the team's possession.

Rare glimpse

Pauleta's 57th-minute attempt with a curling shot from outside the penalty area was a rare glimpse of Portugal's firepower as the game ebbed.

Portuguese fans jeered as their team miscued passes and failed to show its usual flair.

Angola went in search of an equaliser, bringing on Benfica striker Pedro Mantorras for the final 20 minutes.

Portugal, meanwhile, beefed up its defensive line with Maniche and Francisco Costinha, but Mateus almost levelled the score in the dying minutes.

Maniche's powerful shot in added time was tipped over the bar by Angola goalkeeper Joao Ricardo.

The players displayed no bad blood after their bruising last encounter five years ago in which four Angolans were sent off for nasty tackles and the game had to be abandoned 20 minutes from the end.

Angola emerged four years ago from a ruinous two-decade civil war that devastated public infrastructure and brought widespread poverty. AP

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