KAZAN, Russia — Three thoughts on Portugal and Mexico’s 2-2 draw in Group B of the Confederations Cup.
1. Mexico strike late to deny Portugal
A late Hector Moreno header salvaged a 2-2 tie for Mexico as El Tri twice came from behind to in each team’s Group A opener.
Ricardo Quaresma had put Portugal head in the 34th minute, before Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez leveled three minutes before half-time and the sequence repeated itself in the second period, with Cedric Soares netting in the 86th only for Moreno to level one minute into injury time.
Overall a point each was a fair result. Mexico dominated possession, with 61 percent over the 90 minutes, but it was Portuguese who looked to have more punch. The first goal was an example of that and showcased a moment of brilliance from Ronaldo.
The Real Madrid forward, who had been surrounded by speculation over his future leading into the game, controlled a long cross-field pass that caught out Mexico defender Carlos Salcedo, then burst into the box. After turning around and with his options seeming to have run out, Ronaldo slipped the ball past a sleeping Mexico defense to gift Quaresma the opener.
Until then, Mexico had arguably been the better team; an aggressive press, intensity and very high defensive line was bold and a statement of intent from coach Juan Carlos Osorio. The team from CONCACAF had enjoyed almost 70 percent of possession against the European champions, but hadn’t threatened the goal.
But while Mexico had control, Portugal had the better moments. Before Quaresma’s goal, Ronaldo hit the bar and Pepe thought he’d netted the opener in the 21st minute, but the video assistant referee (VAR) was disallowed the strike for offside. There was later some doubt — and general confusion — over Soares’ goal, which ultimately stood.
But a year to the day on from a 7-0 capitulation against Chile in the Copa America Centenario, Mexico responded in its first game since against a team in the top 10 in the FIFA rankings.