Saturday, October 21, 2017

Portugal 2-2 Mexico: Hector Moreno saves El Tri with a dramatic injury-time equalizer

Milos Markovic in Editorial 18 Jun 2017

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Hector Moreno’s late goal saves Mexico / Image via goal.com

Portugal will have been disappointed by the fact they conceded two late goals in each half to end up being denied three points at the beginning of their Confederations Cup campaign.

Fernando Santos’ men showed lack of composure and concentration in crucial times to allow Mexico to claw back to a 2-2 draw.

Here is our detailed match report from the match in Kazan:

Form Guide & Team News

European champions Portugal arrived in Russia on the back of a fine form. Fernando Santos’ men won seven of their nine matches since last summer’s success in France, thus continuing the positive momentum and bringing into the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The Portuguese sit second in Group B behind leaders Switzerland after six rounds and the 2017 Confederations Cup is a great chance for Santos to polish his team’s play before the qualifying process continues. Portugal manager’s star-studded side includes Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, his teammate Pep and the majority of the Euro 2016 winning side.

Mexico lost only one of their last 13 matches in all competition after the 7-0 Cpa America quarter-final embarrassment against Chile. Juan Carlos Osorio’s charges have bounced back in style and are currently topping the North and Central America World Cup qualifying group after six matches. Osorio brought his full-strength side to Russia with all the major stars including Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela and Hector Herrera.

First Half

The game in Kazan produced an eventful half despite a timid early-stage period which saw both sides test the waters and lay ground for a full-throttle twenty-minute spell.

The action started after 22 minutes of play when Cristiano Ronaldo got to a rebound on the edge of the box after a failed attempt of a free-kick. The Portuguese superstar struck it hard and precise, but the ball hit the crossbar. The ball got hooked in the area immediately as Ronaldo’s teammate Pepe puts in in the back of the net for what seemed to be a definite opener.

However, after a video replay of the goal the referee decided to disallow Pepe’s effort for offside and the replays have confirmed the VAR made the correct call. Nani, Pepe and Andre Gomes were all in an offside position when the ball was played back into the box.

Portugal disappointment did not last too long, though, as European champions got upfront after 33 minutes. It was Cristiano Ronaldo in the epicenter again as the Portuguese key man broke down the left leaving Salcedo in his wake. Ronaldo did not manage to go all the way through but showed great vision to tee up Quaresma on the other side in the box, who round Ochoa with impressive composure and ease to slot the ball into an empty net.

European champions were buoyed by the goal and went all in against Mexico in the closing stages of the first half. Quaresma nearly got his second on the game as he latched on a wonderful heel from Ronaldo and found some space on the edge of the box only to see his shot go inches wide of Ochoa’s post.

Only three minutes from time in the first half, Mexico go level literally out of nowhere.

A lofted cross was sent into the box and it was thanks to Guerrerio’s terrible attempt of a clearance that the ball fell straight into Carlos Vela’s feet. Former Arsenal man had no problems clipping the ball into the centre from inside the box for Javier Hernandez who nipped it in front of a sluggish Pepe. His trademark powerful header left Rui Patricio helpless for the final 1-1 result after first 45 minutes.

Second Half

Following the thrilling ang actioned-packed ending to the first half of the match, the second period turned out to be rather uneventful and quiet. The game turned into an international friendly of sorts, with both sides showing insufficient effort to try and get up in front. Both sides seemed quite content with a point and after weeks without action it ended up being not much of a surprise seeing the players get tired.

With both managers making a couple of changes in effort to breathe life into their line-up, the game adopted a completely different pace and rhythm. It was Mexico who tried to open up the play having displayed neat passing from player to player on a couple occasions, but Portugal sat back comfortably, waiting for their chance to hit them swiftly on the counter.

Guerreiro and Ronaldo did well down the left side of the pitch to tee up Quaresma, who ended up being one of the most agile players in Portugal squad. The Besiktas winger volleyed the ball straight at Ochoa however.

On the other end, Giovanni dos Santos capitalized on the error from Andre Gomes but sent a wayward shot to ruin a promising attack.

A bit of life finally in the closing stages of the game as Portugal enjoyed a long period of possession with Cristiano Ronaldo once again coming to life. He attempted to surprise Ochoa with a couple of shots but had no luck.

Portugal continued to press hard, but Ochoa kept his side afloat with a great save to Andre Silva’s header which was almost seen in the back of the net. Mexico goalkeeper produced a wonderful goal-line clearance and pushed the ball away.

He wasn’t as fortunate minutes later as second-half sub Alves Cedric picked up the ball inside the box and found himself some space to fire a shot which was deflected past Guillermo Ochoa. Alves Cedric scored his first-ever Portugal goal.

And with a repeated scenario from the first-half, Mexico ended up using a single moment of low concentration from Portugal to salvage a point and set the final score to 2-2. Hector Moreno’s perseverance paid off as Mexico international latched on a Dos Santos’ cross over from a corner to muscle the West Ham defender Jose Fonte out and flick a header in off the far post.   

Statistical Overview

  • Portugal made 5 shots on goal to Mexico’s 3
  • The total of 21 goal attempts were made in the match
  • Mexico enjoyed 60% possession to Portugal’s 40%
  • Alves Cedric scored his first-ever Portugal goal
  • The total of 32 free-kicks were called in the game

PORTUGAL: Patricio 6.5 – Cedric 7, Pepe 6, Fonte 6, Guerreiro 6 – Quaresma 7.5 (Silva 6.5), Carvalho 6.5, Moutinho 6 (Silva 6), Gomes 6.5 0 Nani 6 (Martins 6.5), Ronaldo 7.5.

Unused subs: Alves, Beto, Eliseu, Pizzi, Neto, Pereira, Jose Sa, Semedo, Silva.

MEXICO: Ochoa 7.5 – Salcedo 6 (Araujo 6), Reyes 6.5, Moreno 7, Layun 7 – dos Santos 7, Herrera 7, Guardado 6.5 – Vela 6.5 (dos Santos 6.5), Chicharito 7.5, Jimenez 6.5 (Peralta 6).

Unused subs: Aquino, Cota, Damm, Fabian, Lozano, marquez, Oswaldo, Reyes, Talaverta.

REFEREE: Nestor Pitana

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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