The Mexicans salvaged a point in the closing stages, when Hector Moreno advanced from the back to score a vital stoppage time header against Portugal.
Portugal took the lead on 34 minutes via Besiktas winger Ricardo Quaresma. Cristiano Ronaldo was the catalyst, exploiting Salcedo for a notable mistake, and assisting Quaresma for a simple finish at the back post.
Mexico replied swiftly and equalised on the brink of half time through all-time top goal scorer Javier Hernandez. Portugal full-back Guerreiro was at fault for naively rushing to clear his lines, which as a result left Vela unmarked. The former Arsenal winger lifted his cross into Hernandez to bury his header into the bottom corner.
Video technology was used on two occasions, once in the first half and again in the second half. Portugal thought they’d taken the lead inside 20 minutes, with Ricardo Quaresma finding the target once again. Pepe was caught in an offside position, three phases before the ball rippled the net, and this resulted in the video officials disallowing the goal.
The game was played at a slow tempo and the players looked lethargic and tired for the majority of the second half. Andre Silva and Gelson Martinez emerged from the bench to inject life into the Portuguese attack.
Suddenly, the game burst into the life with around 10 minutes remaining. Almost immediately after Silva forced an impressive save out of Ochoa, Cedric Soares had struck Portugal back into the lead. With five minutes remaining, the Southampton full-back darted into the penalty area with his mind set on reaching Martinez’s cross. Fortunately, Herrera fluffed his clearance and gifted him with a free shot on goal. Herrera made a late desperate attempt to throw himself in front of the ball, but helped the ball spin into the far top corner.
Video technology was used once again following Portugal’s second goal. The players were left in the dark and patiently and nervously awaited the decision of the Video Officials. Fortunately, without very little explanation, the referee resumed play with Portugal’s goal being classed as legitimate.
It seemed the game was likely to fizzle out with Portugal holding out for a valuable three points in their opening match. However, Mexico had other ideas and came from behind for the second time in the first minute of second half stoppage time.
Hector Moreno emerged from the back to guide his header into the far corner, with power and precision. Fonte was comfortably beaten in the air by the AS Roma defender and Mexico rescued a late point.
Both Teams Culprits for Complacency and Notable Mistakes
Individual errors and complacency led to the four goals scored during the 90 minutes between Portugal and Mexico. It was an exciting and open display from both teams, despite stages that could’ve had supporters contemplating whether to make an early exit.
The first half began in a reserved and conservative manor, with both teams keeping possession in deeper positions and showing reluctance to risk an attack. This changed once Portugal had an early goal disallowed via Video Officials and mistakes began to creep in once the game became more open.
For Portugal’s opening goal, Mexico and Eintracht Frankfurt defender Carlos Salcedo was at fault. Pepe switched the ball across the left hand side with a long clearance from inside his own half.
Salcedo misjudged the flight of the ball and the ball dropped invitingly onto the foot of Cristiano Ronaldo. The 2016 Ballon D’Or winner made a bustling run towards the penalty area, three defenders surrounded him but Ronaldo remained composed and unselfishly rolled the ball across the box.
Reyes was caught out of position and opened up an exploitable gap for the Real Madrid winger to find Quaresma. He was unmarked at the back post and calmly rounded the goalkeeper and tucked the ball into the net.
Portugal full-back Raphael Guerreiro was also culpable for making a similar mistake to Salcedo for Mexico’s first equaliser. Jimenez delivered a curling cross towards the far post, Guerreiro naively rushed to make a sweeping clearance.
He misjudged the flight of the ball horrifically and the cross advanced towards Carlos Vela. The former Arsenal winger lifted his cross into the box for Javier Hernandez to throw himself at the ball ahead of the dangling leg of Pepe and sent a darting header into the far bottom corner.
For Portugal’s second goal, Mexico and FC Porto midfielder Hector Herrera’s mistake gifted Cedric with his first ever international goal. Herrera’s poor clearance rolled directly to the right boot of Cedric, who’s powerful striker deflected and looped into the far top corner.
Mexico’s equaliser was more class from Hector Moreno than poor defending from Portugal. However, Jose Fonte could be held accountable for misjudging the flight of the ball and finding himself under the ball. This allowed the corner delivery to swoop over him and find Hector Moreno.
Video Technology saga
Video technology has been used on two occasions during the opening two matches of the 2017 Confederations Cup. Yesterday, the referee elected not to use Video Technology to decide a Russian penalty claim against New Zealand.
Russian striker Dmitry Poloz was tripped by the trailing leg of emerging goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic. It looked to be a penalty kick but the referee decided to stick with his original decision and ignore their penalty claim.
Today, Video Technology came into play and was involved in two key decision during Portugal’s draw against Mexico. The Portuguese thought they’d taken the lead through Ricardo Quaresma on 20 minutes.
Pepe, who was caught in an offside position, kept the attack alive by winning an aerial battle just inside the penalty area. Shortly after, Cristiano Ronaldo crashed a powerful volley against the crossbar and Quaresma struck a precise volley into the far corner.
The referee chose to review the decision via the Video Officials, which subsequently ruled out the goal. Pepe was in an offside position but attributed to the attack three phases before the goal was scored.
It’s important that it’s made clear at what period in the attack that a decision can be implicated. For example, whether the decision should be made for an infringement made in the last phase of play or any period during the build-up to the goal.
Video technology was also used for Portugal’s second goal but there seemed to be a lot of confusion. The players were left in the dark regarding the decision, which suggests the referee should be in communication with the players to ensure they are in full understanding of the decision being made.