Portugal make it three from three

Portugal have topped Group D with their third win in as many matches as they defeated Mexico 2-1 in Gelsenkirchen.

    Big Phil (L) makes his emotions clear

    With five regular stars missing for the match many thought the Mexicans would make light work of the Portuguese but that was not the case.

    Despite the enthusiastic opening to game from the North Amercians it was the Portuguese who were on the scoreboard first.

    After six minutes a wonderful run by Benfica forward Simao Sabrosa into the box attracted a number of defenders while midfielder Maniche ghosted to the top of the penalty area and without anyone tracking his run finished with an unstoppable drive.

    The match continued from end to end until a moment of madness from Mexican captain Rafael Marquez set up the Europeans' second.

    In defending a corner Marquez bizarrely opted to punch the ball as it whizzed past his head and left Slovakian referee Lubos Michel with no alternative but to point to the spot.

    It was time for Simao to now turn goal scorer as he finished with authority to double his side's lead.

    Conversion successful

    Olympique Lyon’s Tiago was also then very nearly on the scoresheet when former Tottenham striker Helder Postiga’s strike forced a diving save from Mexican goal keeper Osvaldo Sanchez but with the goal beckoning the former Chelsea midfielder blazed over the bar.

    Just as a rout looked on the cards Mexico hit back on half an hour.

    From a corner, striker Jose Fonseca hit a wonderful glancing header into the back of the net to bring the game to life.

    Midfielder Pavel Pardo nearly had an equaliser a minute from halftime when his thunderbolt required all of goal keeper Ricardo's ability to maintain his side’s advantage.

    In the second half the equaliser looked assured when Portuguese defender Miguel gave away a penalty for hand ball within the box.

    However, young striker Omar Bravo blasted his attempt over the bar when he opted for power over precision.

    A horror five minute stretch for Mexico then saw striker Luis Perez go down in an effort to win his side another penalty, however it backfired as he was booked for simulation.

    Where did you get that hat?

    It was his second yellow and he was given the chance to beat the rush to the showers.

    With a Mexican comeback then unlikely, Portugal used the numerical advantage to simply hold possession rather than rack up a big score.

    As the match fizzled out it became apparent that Angola would not be making a mad dash for the knockout stages so the two sides will now face either Argentina or the Netherlands in their round of 16 match.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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