Brazil held by feisty Mexico as Ochoa stands firm

FORTALEZA, Brazil, (Reuters) – Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa produced a series of superb reflex saves to restrict Brazil to a 0-0 draw at the World Cup today and deny the Brazilians their 11th victory in a row.

In an absorbing Group A match in the deafening cauldron of Fortaleza’s Castelao arena, Ochoa thwarted Paulinho, Neymar (twice) and Thiago Silva when they seemed certain to score.

He was the last Mexican player to leave the pitch to a standing ovation by thousands of green-shirted supporters before being named man of the match.

“We should congratulate their goalkeeper who performed at least four miracles,” Brazilian striker Fred said after a frustrating afternoon for the hosts who failed time and again to unlock a stubborn Mexican defence.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari described Ochoa’s performance as “spectacular”.

At the other end, the Mexicans had a few decent chances of their own in yet another entertaining game at this World Cup, and they could have snatched a victory had their long-range shots been more accurate.

Guillermo Ochoa
Guillermo Ochoa

Jose Vasquez, Hector Herrera and Miguel Layun all tried their luck with powerful drives from outside the box that zipped over Julio Cesar’s crossbar.

The draw ended Brazil’s 10-match winning streak, dating back to August when they lost to Switzerland in a friendly.

It also meant that to make the second round of the tournament both teams need points from their final group games on June 23 when Brazil face Cameroon in Brasilia and Mexico meet Croatia in Recife.

“There was a chance here, a chance there, it was very tight,” Scolari said.

“It wasn’t a question of us evolving or not (from the last game). We’ve been playing this way 20 games, we are up against good teams, we need to understand that.”

CAUSING MISCHIEF

Brazil took control of the match from the outset with Marcelo and Oscar causing mischief down the left and Neymar showing bursts of brilliance when he drifted into the middle.

It was a Neymar header that forced the first of Ochoa’s “miracles”, the keeper scrambling across his line to beat the ball away at his right hand post.

Oscar floated a free kick into the box and Thiago Silva chested it down into the path of Paulinho with just the keeper to beat but again Ochoa got his body in the way and parried the ball to safety.

Brazil turned the screws after the interval against a Mexican side who have never beaten them at the World Cup and have failed to score a single goal against them in four meetings dating back to 1950.

With a passionate Brazilian crowd roaring them on, Neymar came close again, twisting inside his marker and firing in a left-foot shot which Ochoa blocked with his chest.

In the dying minutes Brazilian captain Thiago Silva looked certain to score with a point-blank header but again Ochoa was in the right place to beat the ball away.

Despite their setback, Brazil will be confident of booking their place in the last 16 by taking points from Cameroon.

The Mexicans, meanwhile, will feel their chaotic qualifying campaign is behind them and that they can get a point from Croatia to put them into the knock-out stages for the sixth consecutive World Cup.

More in Sports

Batsman Marlon Samuels drives during his half-century against India on the fourth day of the opening Test on Sunday. (Photo courtesy WICB)

Windies suffer innings defeat after batting flops again

NORTH SOUND, Antigua, CMC – West Indies’ batting collapsed for the second time in as many days as India crushed them by an innings and 92 runs inside four days in the opening Test here yesterday to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

West Indies captain Jason Holder … said execution was at fault for his side’s capitulation.

Holder blames execution for heavy loss

NORTH SOUND, Antigua, CMC – West Indies captain Jason Holder yesterday flagged a number of glaring areas where he felt his team went wrong but said the biggest flaw was in “execution”, after they tumbled to a heavy innings and 92-run defeat to India within four days in the opening Test.

default placeholder

TT beat Guyana by five wickets in WICB Women’s T20

Anisa Mohammed starred with the ball as Trinidad and Tobago defeated Guyana by five wickets yesterday in the ongoing West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional Women’s T20 tournament played at the Providence National Stadium.

Action between D.C. Cesar Fox Secondary and Sir Leon Lessons in their quarterfinal matchup at the Bartica Community ground in the Digicel Schools Football Championship yesterday. (Orlando Charles photo)

George’s last-gasp goal propels Sir Leon Lessons to semis

A last gasp goal from David George propelled South Georgetown holders Sir Leon Lessons to a 3-2 quarterfinal win over Region Number seven’s D.C.

default placeholder

Charles inspires Zouks to third home Hero CPL win

A match-winning stand between Shane Watson and Johnson Charles saw the St Lucia Zouks to victory over Guyana Amazon Warriors at the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) yesterday.

Batting star Taylor eyeing 50-overs World Cup conquest

Batting star Taylor eyeing 50-overs World Cup conquest

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Last Saturday marked a year to go before the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup in England and West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor says she is quietly plotting the capture of the title at Lord’s in a year’s time.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.



Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: