Portugal 2-2 Mexico 2017 Confederations Cup: Match report and action
Ronaldo had been dominating the news in the build-up but he failed to hit the back of the net as Portugal went ahead twice but could not shake off a resilient Mexico.
Portugal 2-2 Mexico: match report
Portugal and Mexico got their Confederation Cup advantures off to a lively start at Kazan Arena as the reigning European Champions looked to continue their recent success with a win over CONCACAF representatives Mexico.
Mexico got off to the better start and looked dangerous through Carlos Vela on the right and Chicharito loitering in the middle looking for an inch to give his side the lead. It was Portgal who struck first, however, when Ronaldo broke free and slowed up when he knew he was about to be caught. The Real Madrid striker played a lovely ball into Ricardo Quaresma at the edge of the six-yard box and he kept his composure to roll the ball into the net after 35 minutes.
It was that Vela, Chicharito connection that would prove fruitful for Mexico as they drew level just seven minutes later. The Real Sociedad attacker crossed to Hernandez and he headed beyond Patricio from point blank range giving the keeper no chance.
The second half was all Mexico and Portugal seemed to lose interest in taking the lead until the end started to appear on the horizon. They picked up a gear and had their rewards when Andre Silva scored thanks to a deflection on his shot, beating Guillherme Ochoa to leave it 2-1.
With a last gasp drive forward, Mexico won a corner and Hector Moreno, who just moved to AS Roma, headered home as Portugal were left to settle for a draw after taking that late lead.
Mexico play New Zealand at Olimpiyskiy Stadion Fisht on Wednesday and Portugal play Russia in Moscow's Otkrytiye Arena on the same night as they look to put on a more complete display in their next outing.
Portugal vs Mexico live stream online: Confederations Cup latest news
Portugal vs Mexico live stream online: match preview
The two sides have played each other twice in recent mamory and Portugal emerged victorious on both occasions by a single goal. In 2006' World Cup, Maniche and Simao's early strikes helped them to a 2-1 win despite a Francisco Fonseca goal shortly after.
In a 2014 friendly in Foxboro Stadium, now named MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Bruno Alves gave Portugal victory with the game's only goal.
Fernando Santos' attacking options are of the highest quality considering the form their talisman has shown over the course of the last 12 months. A.C Milan new man, Andre Silva is considered his heir to the throne and with Gelson Martins and Nani's speed to create width, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Add Manchester City's new signing, Bernardo Silva, Barcelona's Andre Gomes and highly-rated Willy Carvalho into a midfield that can defend and create in equal measure and Portugal are potent and compact enough to stick around deep into the competition.
The news surrounding Ronaldo and his issues with the Spanish tax authorities mixed with recent reports that he is set to leave Spain could cause lesser mortals to take their eye off the ball and lose concentration but don't count on it as the reigning Ballon d'Or winner has proven in the past that he enjoys highly-pressurised environments.
Defensively, Pepe remains their stalwart and he is currently playing for his future after he announced that he would leave Real Madrid in the summer. He was believed to be close to a PSG move but they only offered him one year and will be looking to draw attention to his performance and ability to continue for another couple of years at the Confederations Cup.
Juan Carlos Osorio's spell in charge of El Tri has been a successful one. They have lost just twice in 24 games and drawn four. One of those beatings, however, came against Chile when they were thrashed 7-0 in last year's Copa America. With Chile as favourites to win the competition, they will be hoping if they make it into the latter stages of the competition, a repeat of that game will not occur.
Javier Hernandez cooled off on the goalscoring front for Bayer Leverkusen last year but he remains lethal for Mexico, scoring twice in his last four games and chipping in with another assist.
Hirving Lozano, previously linked with the likes of Manchester United, could be on the move to Celta Vigo according to reports recently, and he will be tasked with offering himself as a decoy for Hernandez, who tends to receive most attention from defenders in Mexico's attack.
Carlos Vela recently was linked with a move back to Mexico and his goal against USA that helped them to a draw will ensure he starts in Osorio's XI to play Portugal after a decent year with Real Sociedad in Spain's top flight.
Guillermo Ochoa insists Mexico are not only concerned with Cristian Ronaldo and says his side are focused on what they want to do on the field and what the manager is looking for from them.
The former Granada foalkeeper said, "We have confidence in our team and in what Mexico can do and we are sure that we can compete with any other national team," he said. "Those that are here are here to compete and to look to try to get to the final, which is Mexico's objective."
Portugal vs Mexico live stream: possible line-ups
Portugal XI: Rui Patricio, Cedric, Fonte, Bruno Alves, Guerreiro, William, Gelson, Moutinho, André Gomes, Nani, Cristiano
Coach: Fernando Santos
Mexico XI: Ochoa, Salcedo, Diego Reyes, Araujo, Moreno, Jonathan, Herrera, Guardado, Vela, Chicharito, Fabián
Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio
Portugal are the bookies' favourites to get off to a winning start, with the European champions priced at €2 per euro placed to take the points. Mexico, meanwhile, are valued at €4 per buck wagered to begin with a victory.
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