Mexico weathers early Russian storm, fights back to reach Confed Cup semis

Solenn Plantier
Juin 25, 2017

Andre Silva and Nani added the other goals in the last 10 minutes.

The hosts took a deserved lead through Alexander Samedov midway through the first half, the midfielder capitalizing on confusion in the Mexican box to fire home and put Russian Federation provisionally top of Group A.

Just as they did in the 2-2 draw with Portugal and subsequent victory over New Zealand, Mexico made a slow start and again fell behind.

Santos said Portugal had been wary heading into the game early on Sunday (NZT), despite New Zealand's lowly 95th world ranking.

Ronaldo was in the starting lineup despite coach Fernando Santos's suggestions he could rest his superstar, and he delivered Portugal's opening goal from the penalty spot before being substituted in the 67th minute. We are still building a team that is able to show that they have the skills and determination to play against anybody.

"We know we've played some really good football at times".

Bernardo Silva doubled Portugal's lead four minutes later when he connected with a pass inside the box and slammed home low into the middle of the net. "We never stopped. We created chances, we put them under pressure, so we could have got a little more out of this tournament", he told reporters.

After demolishing New Zealand, Portugal progressed as Group A winners and will face the runners-up in Group B - likely Germany or Chile - next Wednesday in Kazan for a place in the July 2 final.

Portugal on Saturday finished tied with Mexico at seven points apiece after three round-robin matches, but it topped the group based on a +5 goal differential thanks to its 4-0 thrashing of the Kiwis, Efe news reported.

Marinovic impressed and made eight saves, using his big body to block second-half shots by Andre Silva and Nani.

But the lead lasted just five minutes when on the half hour mark Araujo looped a header over Igor Akinfeev from a freaky free kick awarded for hand ball. They expected three or possibly four points from Group A and they ended up with three, with a goal difference of three goals in favor and three against.

Russian Federation goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev completely mis-read the situation after Hector Herrera sent a looping clearance 80 metres downfield from the edge of the Mexican area seven minutes into the second half.

The Russia crowd responded as its team chased victory after the break, but it was a defensive mix-up that handed Mexico victory. The defender headed the ball into the opposite corner, over Akinfeev.

Hirving Lozano then scored what turned out to be the victor seven minutes after the break.

Mexico thought they had extended their lead in the 60th minute but Hector Moreno's goal was ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee after a review.

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