Mexico forces draw with Ronaldo's Portugal

Solenn Plantier
Juin 19, 2017

The European champions were denied an opening victory in Kazan after Hector Moreno's last-gasp header salvaged a draw for Mexico, after Ricardo Quaresma and Cedric Soares had scored either side of a Javier Hernandez goal.

The goal was eventually ruled out, after the referee consulted with the Video Assistant Referees, who deemed Pepe to have been offside.

Moreno made it 2-2 in the 90th minute off a corner for Mexico with a flawless header when the Portuguese thought they had won.

But Portugal's talisman was at his best in an action-packed first half in his team's opening match, with hosts Russian Federation and New Zealand still to come in the group.

Russian Federation beat New Zealand 2-0 in the other Group A fixture, while Chile beat Cameroon 2-0 in the opening Group B tie.

Portugal play hosts Russian Federation in Moscow on Wednesday, while Mexico take on New Zealand in Sochi.

Whether it was the right flank in the first half or the left in the second half, Quaresma was quite easily the most menacing of attacking players for Portugal ahead of the much fancied Ronaldo. We also can't forget his assist for Moreno in the 92nd minute that helped rescue a point.

This will be the first time Portugal are competing in the Confederations Cup but they are expected to go all the way, along with Germany, as a serious contender for the title.

Coming off a disappointing 1-1 draw with the United States at home in their most recent World Cup qualifying match, Mexico is faced with the hard task of trying to bounce back against one of the most competitive teams in the world.

Germany is the top-ranked team in the eight-nation Confederations Cup, at No 3, but it came to Russian Federation with a second-string squad that has only three players from the team that won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

With the game looking like it may end deadlocked at 1-1 defender Cedric popped up in the box to fire home his first worldwide goal via a deflection. Both these teams are expected to make it to the next round of the tournament. Even if Mexico fall short, reaching the semifinal would be a huge accomplishment for Juan Carlos Osorio and the squad.

"When Cristiano was able to run, that put Mexico on alert and we should have done that more often", Santos said after the game in his only reference to Portugal's talisman.

The assistants duly looked it over, and awarded what looked to be a correct offside decision against Portugal, disallowing the goal.

"If we win we'll be close to qualifying so it's not the time to sound the alarm". "We are happy because you can win, lose or draw, but while you play your style, character and football, you feel good".

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