Giovani dos Santos and Mexico opened the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup on Sunday with a hard-fought 2-2 draw against the reigning European champions Portugal in Kazan.
Portugal’s next game is on Wednesday at the Spartak Stadium against Russian Federation, while Mexico will face minnows New Zealand later on the same day at the Fisht Olympic Stadium.
Cristiano Ronaldo teed up Ricardo Quaresma for the opener, before Southampton defender Cedric Soares put Portugal 2-1 up in the final ten minutes.
Portugal saw an early goal by Pepe disallowed for offside courtesy video refereeing.
It was the first use of the VAR system at the Confederations Cup.
Both teams are trailing hosts Russian Federation in Group A, who beat New Zealand 2-0 in the tournament opener on Saturday. “People are very sad in Portugal and the players are thinking of all those who are suffering from what’s happened”.
“The team continue to believe in qualification, we have great possibilities, because there are still two games left”.
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.
In his next game, Silva scored a hat-trick against the Faroe Islands, when Ronaldo added one goal in another 6-0 victory.
The overall result will be a positive one for Mexico as they showed a gull to battle back from being down a goal twice to tie that match both times.
Mexico: Ochoa 6, Salcedo 5, Moreno 7, Diego Reyes 6, Layún 6, Guardado 6, Herrera 6, J. Dos Santos 6, Vela 7, Chicharito 7, Jiménez 6. The strike was ruled out following advice to referee Nestor Pitana from the video replay team.
Portugal will probably need performances more befitting a man-of-the-match gong from Ronaldo if they are going to win this competition; they will also be praying that the rumbling narrative from Spain eases up a little over the next fortnight.
Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored or assisted in each of his last seven games for Portugal. At the beginning we couldn’t enjoy good control of the ball but then we managed to balance things out and could have won it in the end.