• Sunday, October 26, 2014

Brilliant Ochoa denies Brazil attempts in goalless tie

Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (C) kicks the ball during a Group A football match between Brazil and Mexico in the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (C) kicks the ball during a Group A football match between Brazil and Mexico in the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

 

Group Match

Group A, Match 3

Brazil failed to impress in Fortaleza on Tuesday as the hosts and favourites to lift the World Cup were held to a 0-0 draw by Mexico, reports Goal.com.

Having won their opening fixtures last week, both sides came into the clash knowing a win would all but assure them of a place in the second round.

Unlike much of the action previously seen at the finals, what followed was a disjointed affair devoid of any real pattern, although the hosts created the clearer goalscoring opportunities.

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa put in an excellent display and made a superb save in each half, scooping Neymar's header away following a pinpoint Dani Alves cross in the first period before keeping out Thiago Silva's free header five yards out with just three minutes remaining.

Brazil dominated the latter stages, but ultimately Luiz Felipe Scolari's side failed to deliver the goal the home crowd so desperately craved, and the stalemate leaves the two teams locked on four points at the top of the group.

Cameroon and Croatia meet in Group A's next game on Wednesday, with each knowing defeat would see them exit the tournament.

Brazil made one alteration to the side that defeated Croatia in the opening match, Ramires coming in for the injured Hulk, while Mexico were unchanged from their win over Cameroon.

After a slow start to proceedings, Mexico's Hector Herrera had the first meaningful effort in the 24th minute. Julio Cesar tipped a rasping 25-yard drive over the crossbar, although the officials failed to see the touch and awarded a goal-kick to the hosts.

Brazil's response was immediate, Neymar rising highest to head Alves' cross towards goal, but Ochoa flew to his right to brilliantly claw the effort away.

Ochoa was called into action again 10 minutes before the break, this time making a much more routine save from Fred's header after the forward met Neymar's right-wing corner.

The North Americans hit back as Jose Vazquez momentarily worried Cesar with a swerving effort from the edge of the box which ultimately flew wide in the 41st minute.

Paulinho was then denied by Ochoa shortly before the break, the goalkeeper rushing from his line to block the midfielder's poked effort following a driven Neymar set-piece.

The opening of the second period matched that of the first with neither side able to assert themselves, Vazquez and Herrera both fizzing shots just over the bar from distance in the only efforts of note prior to the hour mark.

Neymar sent a 30-yard free-kick narrowly wide in the 63rd minute and went close again six minutes later, jinking into space inside the penalty area only to see his strike repelled once more by Ochoa.

Suddenly the hosts looked more lively, substitute Jo dragging an effort wide from a tight angle after being slipped in by fellow replacement Bernard, and Silva planting a header straight at Ochoa when it seemed easier to score.

Raul Jimenez brought a smart stop out of Cesar in stoppage time as the game became stretched, but both sides had to settle for a draw that means they each remain in control of their own fate.

Man of the Match: G Ochua (MEX)

Match Commentary - as it happened

FULL TIME! Brazil and Mexico drew 0-0 in Fortaleza, earning the hosts a rather mixed reception! The home fans aren't too pleased, but El Tri's support are ecstatic, as Ochoa put on a goalkeeping masterclass to keep the Selecao at bay.

90` + 1` GOOD SAVE FROM JULIO CESAR! Jimenez is found in space on the right, driving a low shot towards the bottom right corner! The Brazil goalkeeper gets down smartly to palm it away from danger, though Hernandez nearly manages to control the rebound!

90` GUARDADO GOES VERY CLOSE! The Mexico midfielder drifts in from the right, before curling a left-footed effort across goal and onto the roof of the net! It had Julio Cesar throwing himself in the air to get a touch, with Miguel Herrera half-celebrating on the sideline!

88` Only a few minutes remain for both of these sides to protect their 100% group record, though a draw wouldn't be a bad result for either. Willian is bustled to the ground by Fabian, allowing for Brazil to earn a free-kick. The hosts break with Marcelo down the left, with the left-back going down in the box due to a tug by Jimenez! The referee doesn't give a penalty, though!

86` GREAT SAVE FROM OCHOA AGAIN! Reflex stop from the Mexico goalkeeper, who slaps away a Thiago Silva header from close range! He might not have known much about it, with the effort whistling straight towards him, but that has to go down as another top stop!

84` Substitution: Giovani dos Santos out, R. Jiménez in.

84` Substitution: Oscar out, Willian in.

84` Third change for Brazil, as Willian replaces Oscar. There are a lot of tired legs out on the field, with the fresh winger perhaps able to make something happen. It's just not clicking in attack for the hosts and the home crowd aren't too pleased.

83` Less than ten minutes to go and the home crowd are urging the Selecao to try and break whenever possible. It appears that both managers would be satisfied with a draw, which would leave them both in favourable positions. That said, Herrera tells Jimenez to warm up.

81` Dos Santos tries his luck from the dead ball, but cannons his effort straight into the wall. Neymar breaks through the heart of the Mexico midfield, before looking to poke a through ball in behind for Jo to chase. Ochoa is quick off his line to smother the pass.

80` Yellow Card Thiago Silva

78` Moreno steps out of defence brilliantly to halt Dani Alves, while the right-back was in full flight. Mexico continue to hold firm, with their central defensive three nullifying any Brazilian attack which threatens to penetrate down the middle.

76` Substitution: H. Herrera out, M. Fabián in.

76` BIG CHANCE FOR JO! The substitute breaks the offside trap, slid through on goal by Bernard, but drags his first-time strike wide of the far post! He shouts in frustration, he knows that he should have done better with that!

75` Oscar finds Neymar with a short pass on the edge of the area, before the latter attempts a piece of skill to flick a lofted pass over the deep Mexican defence. Mexico clear and counter, but Hernandez is muscled off the ball by David Luiz deep in Brazil's penalty area.

74` Substitution: O. Peralta out, Javier Hernández in.

73` Bernard overlaps Neymar and receives possession via a nice backheel from the Shakhtar man. The former whips in a cross, but Jo is unable to rise high enough to make any contact. A bit more urgency for Brazil, at least.

72` There are around 20 minutes remaining, with Mexico surely feeling as though they can take all three points having gone for so long without conceding. Javier Hernandez might signal their intent, as the Little Pea strips off ready for action.

70` David Luiz spreads play out to Oscar on the right hand side, before making a supporting run. His former Chelsea teammate gives him the ball back, but Luiz mishits his shot and another Brazilian attack peters out.

69` OCHOA MAKES THE SAVE! Scolari makes his second change, replacing a rather lacklustre Fred with Jo. Immediately Brazil break upfield, with Neymar forcing Ochoa into another smart save on his near post! Dani Alves picks up the rebound but his cross is deflected behind for a corner!

68` Substitution: Fred out, Jô in.

67` Layun beats Dani Alves for pace, before firing a cross into the six yard area. Thiago Silva manages to contort himself and make an important headed clearance, stopping the Mexican attack in its tracks. El Tri certainly aren't sitting back and looking to defend.

65` Marcelo whips a cross in from the left yet again, but Mexico manage to scramble clear yet again. Brazil are looking low on ideas and it wouldn't be surprising to see Scolari utilise his bench again fairly soon. There isn't any fluency or vibrancy in midfield.

63` NEYMAR GOES CLOSE! The 22-year-old curls a 30 yard free-kick towards the near post, but Ochoa is happy to watch it wide. It wasn't too far away, but the Mexican goalkeeper's dive was merely for his own peace of mind.

62` Yellow Card J. Vázquez

62` Dos Santos breaks to the byeline, but his attempt cut-back is smothered by Julio Cesar. Vazquez then picks up his own yellow card for a niggling tackle on Neymar. Herrera may need to consider some substitutes soon to ensure that El Tri end the game with a full side.

60` Half an hour remains, with the home supporters beginning to get on the Selecao's back a little. Guardado fires wide of the target from 30 yards yet again, as Mexico keep peppering Julio Cesar's goal. Hernanes is warming up for Brazil.

59` Yellow Card Paul Nicolás Aguilar

59` Aguilar is given a yellow card for a rash challenge on Bernard, meaning that the wing-back is on thin ice for the remainder of the second half. Brazil are struggling to impose themselves in the second half, with Mexico's formation and plentiful bodies in defence continuing to frustrate.

57` HERRERA GOES CLOSE! The midfielder is allowed to cut inside Paulinho and unleash a ferocious left-footed effort, but once again the ball heads narrowly over the crossbar! Mexico keep trying their luck and it must be said that they're looking the more likely to score thus far!

56` Giovani dos Santos drifts inside from the right hand side, scampering across the edge of the box and beating David Luiz. He can only muster a weak shot from 18 yards, which is deflected into the arms of Julio Cesar.

55` WHAT A STRIKE FROM VAZQUEZ! El Tri are getting closer! Another ambitious strike from 30 yards, with the midfielder almost scraping the top of the crossbar. Herrera's side certainly aren't afraid to shoot, Julio Cesar will be a worried man.

53` Layun breaks down the left hand side, before whipping in a right-footed cross which Luiz Gustavo deals with. Mexico keep the pressure on, with Guardado shooting from 30 yards out. Thiago Silva makes the block to concede a corner.

52` Mexico look to hold onto the ball, moving it sideways at pace, but Brazil continue to look very comfortable. Julio Cesar has been well protected thus far, with Peralta only looking dangerous on one occasion. Fortunately for Herrera, he has impact striker Javier Hernandez waiting on the bench.

50` Bernard has already had some joy down the Mexican left hand side, with Scolari's change certainly a positive one. The Selecao have started the second half the better of the two outfits, with the home crowd beginning to chant the name of Neymar.

48` Brilliant defending from Rodriguez! Dani Alves releases Bernard down the right hand side, before the substitute fires an excellent cross towards the back post! Neymar steams in to try and make contact, but Rodriguez gets there first to divert behind for a corner.

47` One change at the interval, as Bernard replaces Ramires, suggesting that the Selecao are prepared to take this game to their opponents. The Shakhtar winger is capable of playing on the left or the right, with the pace to trouble the Mexican wing-backs.

46` Substitution: Ramires out, Bernard in.

HALF TIME! The referee calls time on a goalless first 45 minutes, with Ochoa forced into a couple of brilliant saves as the half wore on. Mexico have held their own, with Miguel Herrera presumably happy with his side's battling spirit, but Neymar is looking dangerous.

45` Yellow Card Ramires

44` GOOD SAVE FROM OCHOA! Great opportunity for Brazil, but the Mexican goalkeeper is on hand to deny them again! A free-kick delivery bobbles through a ruck of players, allowing for three unmarked yellow shirts to try and turn home the loose ball! Luis Gustavo tries his luck but Ochoa makes the block.

43` Marcelo whips in another cross from deep on the left, but Rodriguez beats Fred to the header. It has been a frustrating half for Brazil, who have seen plenty of the ball but can't find the cutting edge to break through thick Mexican lines.

 

Marcelo of Brazil is challenged by Hector Herrera of Mexico during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Estadio Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images
Marcelo of Brazil is challenged by Hector Herrera of Mexico during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Estadio Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Getty Images

 

43` Marcelo whips in another cross from deep on the left, but Rodriguez beats Fred to the header. It has been a frustrating half for Brazil, who have seen plenty of the ball but can't find the cutting edge to break through thick Mexican lines.

41` Layun tries a diagonal pass in behind Dani Alves, but the Barcelona right-back manages to head clear. Mexico continue to maintain the pressure, with Vazquez eventually presented with possession on the edge of the box. He stabs an effort towards the bottom right corner, but it skips off the dry turf and behind for a goal-kick.

39` Luiz Gustavo has gone down after clashing aerially with Herrera. The defensive midfielder looks fine to continue, but just a little dazed. We're running out of time in the first half for either team to take an advantage back to their respective dressing room.

37` Dani Alves concedes a free-kick in a dangerous area, but Thiago Silva rises highest to defuse the danger and clear the eventual delivery. Layun picks up the pieces, striking from 30 yards, but Julio Cesar is happy to let the wing-back's effort head high and wide.

35` Good defensive header from Herrera, as the midfielder nods away a Neymar near post corner delivery, conceding another in the process. Fred wins the second, but can only direct the ball straight at Ochoa. The lone forward hasn't had the best opening half an hour for Brazil.

33` Thiago Silva makes a good challenge to set Brazil on their way upfield. Neymar runs infield from the left, beating Aguilar before cutting past Vazquez. The ball deflects off a defender, however, looping into the grasp of the grateful Ochoa. Neymar is looking in inspired form.

31` Less than a quarter of an hour to go, as this game continues to threaten to find its first goal but come up short. Great goalkeeping from Ochoa has kept El Tri in it, while Peralta is looking a fairly isolated man in attack for Mexico.

29` Paulinho feeds the ball into Oscar, who had dropped in from the left flank. The Chelsea man took one touch, before trying his luck from 30 yards, but Ochoa is easily able to gobble up the tame strike.

28` Almost a mistake from David Luiz, as the central defender takes a poor touch and nearly allows for Peralata to race in behind enemy lines. Julio Cesar is quick to race off his goal-line and hoof clear.

27` This contest has burst into action! Both goalkeepers have stayed alert to keep their respective sides in the game, as this contest threatens to give us a goal before half time. Plenty of space for both Brazil and Mexico to exploit on the break

 
Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa dives for the ball during a Group A football match between Brazil and Mexico in the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa dives for the ball during a Group A football match between Brazil and Mexico in the Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
 
 
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

 

26` BRILLIANT SAVE FROM OCHOA! Neymar is picked out at the back post, rising majestically to steer a header towards the near post! Ochoa is at full stretch to palm the ball away, as Brazil go extremely close! Mexico clear their lines, with Layun trying his luck from range but firing over.

 

 

24` GREAT EFFORT FROM HERRERA! The El Tri midfielder unleashes a fantastic strike from 30 yards, which threatens to whistle underneath the crossbar. Julio Cesar is light on his feet to get up and acrobatically tip the ball over his goal, but the referee awards a goal-kick.

22` Dangerous play from Peralta! The Mexico forward weaves his way through rash challenges from Thiago Silva and Marcelo, but opts to stay on his feet and drive to the byeline. The recovering PSG defender just about manages to get a foot in to deny the El Tri dangerman.

22` Dangerous play from Peralta! The Mexico forward weaves his way through rash challenges from Thiago Silva and Marcelo, but opts to stay on his feet and drive to the byeline. The recovering PSG defender just about manages to get a foot in to deny the El Tri dangerman.

21` Still nothing for either goalkeeper to do, as the bulk of this contest continues to be played in the midfield third. Mexico's five at the back is holding out, though Neymar appears to have more than enough invention to beat a man and start to stretch things.

19` Fred finds himself in an offside position once again, but is picked out by a back post ball by Marcelo. The lone striker heads a cross back across goal, but Ramires fails to win the second ball. The referee then pulls back play, due to his linesman's flag being raised.

18` Scolari's men fail to penetrate the Mexican lines once again, with a clearance flying out of play on the right hand side. Dani Alves takes a quick throw-in to Gustavo, who takes a touch out of his feet and ambitiously shoots from 35 yards. The ball arcs terribly wide of the target.

17` Luiz Gustavo is again on hand to make an important interception in the centre of midfield, before spraying possession wide to Neymar. The Barcelona man turns Rodriguez inside out with a wonderful Cruyff turn, as the 22-year-old continues to be a thorn in Mexico's side. The defender brings him down, earning Brazil yet another free-kick.

15` The opening quarter of an hour has passed without either goalkeeper being called into action, but there has certainly been a competitive edge to the contest. Plenty of challenges are flying in, with the likes of Vazquez and Dani Alves being warned to watch their step by the referee.

13` Good defensive work from Mexico! Fred looks to fire home on the turn from ten yards, but Moreno does well to slide in and make a block. The rebound falls to Marcelo at the byeline, with the Real Madrid man firing in an immediate cross, but Paulinho can only deflect the pass wide of the near post.

12` It appears that Neymar is being retained in the number ten role for Brazil, with Oscar and Ramires on the flanks for Scolari's men, a surprise given how Neymar is often deployed on the wing. Brazil are in control at the moment, able to probe and test the resolve of the Mexican lines.

11` FRED HITS THE SIDE NETTING! Marcelo releases Oscar down the left hand side, with the diminutive attacking midfielder playing a cross into the path of Fred with the outside of his boot. The Fluminense forward stabs the ball into the side netting from six yards out, with the linesman's flag also raised for offside.

9` Mexico sit back in their shape and invite Brazil to attack, preying on mistakes from the hosts. Marcelo misplaces a pass, but Luiz Gustavo is on hand to rob Herrera and bring the Selecao back upfield. The Wolfsburg man is so key for balance in midfield for Scolari.

7` Neymar wins a free-kick after being brought down by Dos Santos, but David Luiz fires the dead ball into a two-man wall. Brazil are struggling to penetrate El Tri's lines, but are slowly getting a foothold and starting to take control of the contest.

6` Neymar looks to drive at the Mexican defence, but is accidentally tackled by Fred, as the lone striker looked to drop deep and collect the ball. Moreno has only had to make own clearance so far for Herrera's side, as the Selecao struggle to retain possession.

4` A late challenge from Layun on Luiz Gustavo is rather nasty, sending the defensive midfielder sprawling on the turf. Mexico are stealing yards early on, robbing possession deep in Brazil's half and looking to take the game to the host nation.

3` David Luiz heads away Mexico's first free-kick delivery of the game, before Thiago Silva is forced to concede a corner with his own clearance soon after. Some early pressure from El Tri, with both outfits keen to come out of the traps quickly and press from the off. The set piece comes to nothing.

2` Vazquez snaps at Neymar's heels and brings down the Brazil star, earning him a stern telling off from the referee. After the Barcelona forward's performance in the opening game, fouling Neymar might be El Tri's best chance of stopping him.

Mexico substitutes: Corona, Salcido, Reyes, Fabian, Jimenez, Pulido, Talavera, Hernandez, Ponce, Brizuela, Aquino, Pena.

Mexico starting line-up (5-3-1-1): Ochoa; Layun, Rodriguez, Marquez, Moreno, Layun; Herrera, Vazquez, Guardado; Dos Santos; Peralta.

Brazil substitutes: Jefferson, Fernandinho, Hulk, Dante, Maxwell, Henrique, Hernanes, Willian, Bernard, Jo, Victor, Maicon.

Brazil starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Julio Cesar; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Paulinho, Luiz Gustavo; Ramires, Oscar, Neymar; Fred.

TEAM NEWS: No changes whatsoever from Miguel Herrera, as El Tri stick with a side who fared comfortably against a disappointing Cameroon outfit. Oribe Peralta is the main focal point of the attack and is the scorer of Mexico's only goal in the tournament so far. When out of possession, Paul Aguilar and Miguel Layun will be asked to drop back into a defensive five, which could make Mexico a tough side to break down.

TEAM NEWS: Hulk misses out due to an injury picked up in training for Brazil, with Scolari selecting Ramires to replace the Zenit winger. As a result, Neymar may be shifted back out onto his more familiar position on the left flank, leaving Oscar the responsibility of the number ten role. Otherwise, it's an unchanged side, with continued trust and belief from the hosts' coach in his starting eleven.

Commentary & Report: Goal dot com

Published: 1:20 am Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Last modified: 10:05 pm Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TAGS: Mexico Brazil Brazil2014 brasil2014 groupa bra mex fifacup2014

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