Portugal 2-2 Mexico: Late goals leave sides level
It appeared Portugal had grabbed a late three points against a bright but mistake-prone Mexico side, but the CONCACAF champions leveled in stoppage time to leave honors even at 2-2.
Mexico looked positive in the opening 20 minutes, with Portugal holding the majority of possession but Juan Carlos Osorio’s squad looking up to the task.
There was a big moment after 20 minutes, as it appeared Pepe had scored on the volley after Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post, but after the goal was initially given, the referee asked for a video review, with VAR available in the tournament. After a quick video review, replay showed four Portuguese players offside on the initial delivery into the box, and the goal was wiped off. The call was correct, and the replay review was lightning quick.
Nevertheless, the moment sparked Portugal, and they began to grow into the ascendency. Moments after Memo Ochoa was forced to make a brilliant save, tipping the ball over the bar after it was headed by his own defender Carlos Salcedo, Portugal pounced. Ronaldo did the hard work to carry the ball into the box and cut between three defenders, and he laid off for Ricardo Quaresma who was completely unmarked on the other end of the net. The Besiktas made no mistake, touching past Ochoa and then tapping into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Once they grabbed the lead, however, Portugal’s cutting edge was lost. Mexico had a moment before halftime to pull back level, but while Carlos Vela’s cross met the head of Chicharito, the Bayer Leverkusen striker couldn’t do much with it, only weakly touching it into the waiting arms of Rui Patricio on the hop.
He would atone for the mistake moments later, bringing Mexico back even. Raul Jiminez sent the ball into the box, and a terrible whiff by Portugal defender Raphael Guerrero saw the ball drop to Carlos Vela, who whipped it back into the box for Chicharito who crashed home a header to equalize the score at 1-1.
The Mexican frontman had yet another chance right on the stroke of halftime, but he slipped trying to shoot and sent the ball into the clouds.
After the break, both teams looked to play with less attacking intent, and there were few attempts on net until the final minutes when Portugal began to pour men forward. With five minutes remaining, the Euro champions had their best chance to break the deadlock, as Andre Silva headed on net, but Ochoa was there to keep him out.
Mexico couldn’t see out the point, however, and Portugal seemingly grabbed a winner. Seconds after the Ochoa save, substitute Gelson Martins burst down the right edge of the box, and while his cross cannoned off Hector Herrera, it fell to Cedric Soares. His attempt on net clipped Herrera and deflected into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.
But again, the lead wouldn’t last long for Portugal. A Mexico corner in the 92nd minute fell to the head of Hector Moreno, and he buried the chance, beating Jose Fonte in the air.
With the late pair of goals, the points were shared, and both teams finished looking up at Russia who leads Group A.