The second match in Group A ended all squad as Mexico held Portugal to a late 2-2 draw at the Kazan Arena on Sunday.
The Champions of Europe met their counterparts from North America on Sunday in Kazan as Portugal faced off against Mexico. And in what was an evenly contested affair, Fernando Santos’s side were held to a 2-2 draw thanks to a late equaliser from Hector Moreno.
Ricardo Quaresma opened the scoring for Portugal just after the half-hour mark before Javier Hernandez headed in the equaliser to restore parity.
Both sides subsequently came close to breaking the deadlock, and it looked like Cedric Soares had scored the winning goal for the Seleccao with just five minutes to go in the match. But with just moments remaining in the encounter, Hector Moreno nodded home the equaliser to earn a hard-fought 2-2 draw for Mexico.
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The player who stole the show, though, was the scorer of the first goal of the match – Ricardo Quaresma. The 33-year-old has been a journeyman over his 16-year long career, and is one of the classic cases of footballers who often promise much but fail to deliver eventually.
However, Quaresma seems to be getting better with age as even though he may never be the world class player that his potential warranted, he has established himself as an instrumental figure for his national side.
The veteran forward was one of the standout performers in Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph last year, and he seems to have continued his form for the Seleccao in the Confederations Cup as well. The player opened the scoring for Portugal after some brilliant work from captain Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo obliged after Carlos Salcedo made an error to allow him in on goal before finding Quaresma in acres of space who collected the ball calmly before waltzing past Guillermo Ochoa to score the opener. However, Quaresma’s impact on the match was much more than just netting the opening goal.
What a ball by Cristiano to find Quaresma for tap in. 1-0. 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/LYga6eArTQ
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The 33-year-old took the most number of shots on goal – 6, which was 3 more than any other player – and he peppered Ochoa with some testing shots. On top of that, his tricky change of pace made him a constant threat for the Mexican defence, while his outside of the boot crosses provided many a nervy moments to Hector Moreno and Diego Reyes.
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.
And after what was a disappointing stalemate for Fernando Santos’s side, Quaresma is a player who will be crucial for the European champions for the remainder of the tournament.
Close Contender: Jonathan dos Santos
El Tri were no pushovers in the match despite Portugal heading into Kazan Arena as the favourites. In fact, the Concacaf Cup winners dominated the possession all through the match to stand toe to toe with their much fancied opponents.
And the star man for Mexico was Jonathan dos Santos, who pulled the strings from the centre of the park for his side, while also pressing hard off the ball. The cherry on top of the cake, though, was his corner that set up the equalising goal in the dying stages of the match to earn Mexico a well deserved point.