Confederations Cup 2017 : Portugal secure third spot with win over Mexico

Portugal and Mexico met for the second time in 2 weeks having played an engaging 2-2 draw some days back in Kazan where Mexico salvaged a point right at the last moment but here Portugal gave them the taste of the same medicine only to win the game that was for the third spot in the tournament. Mexico have now failed to beat the Euro champions in their last 4 meetings and after facing demolition in the hands of Germany they needed a consolation win to end the tournament on a high but that was not the case. Portugal was without their star man Cristiano Ronaldo who flew back to celebrate the birth of twins and his services was not missed as they beat Mexico 2-1 in the injury time. Mexico came so very close to victory, but it was Portugal who ultimately claimed victory at Spartak Stadium.

El Tri were 1-0 up in second-half stoppage time only for Portugal defender Pepe to stretch out a leg and beat Miguel Layun to steer in a Ricardo Quaresma cross and send the game into extra time. A penalty from substitute Adrien Silva in the 104th minute — conceded by a Layun handball — wrapped up victory for the European champions.

Portugal looked lacklustre without the likes of Bernardo Silva, Ronaldo and Raphael Gurreiro and that was felt throughout the game and so they held control in the midfield for most of the time with trio of Pereira, Joao Moutinho and Pizzi dictating terms. For Mexico Guillerimo Ochoa produced a fine display to bag the Man of the Match performance for the Mexicans and in process stopped a brilliant penalty off Andre Silva which Portugal was awaeded in a controversial manner through Video Assistant Referee after Rafa Marquez rashly challenged Silva inside the box which the on field referee denied but the VAR refree thought of it otherwise. In the 61st minute, Ochoa produced a memorable save from Gelson Martins. The young winger had the goal gaping and looked certain to score, but Ochoa’s sharp reflexes clawed away the header, bringing applause from the many fans backing Mexico. It was a save reminiscent of one Ochoa made from Brazil’s Neymar at the last World Cup

The first half was well prepped for by both the teams and the forwards missed couple of easy chances otherwise the scoreline would have been different going into the first break.

In the second half Mexico’s goal came nine minutes into the play, with the hardworking Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez hustling down the left wing and firing in a low cross that Luis Neto unwittingly put into his own goal by the near post. It wasn’t enough to hold off Portugal, though. In heartbreaking fashion, Portugal found a stoppage-time equalizer through Pepe, who volleyed in a cross by Quaresma to force extra time where Portugal took the lead just before the end of first AET when Layun’s handball resulted in a penalty which Andre Gomes slotted home. Both the team had a men sent off in the extra time and the closest Mexico came was in the 118th minute, when Patricio parried away a long-range strike from Hector Herrera. It was a fantastic shot, but Patricio saw it all the way.

 

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