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Moreno Strikes Late As Mexico Deny Portugal

Mexico's defender Hector Moreno (15) heads the ball and scores during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between Portugal and Mexico at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 18, 2017. PHOTO/AFP

KAZAN, Russia- Hector Moreno scored for Mexico at the death to force a 2-2 draw against European champions Portugal in a dramatic Group A FIFA Confederations Cup on Sunday in Kazan, Russia.

After seeing a goal denied by the Video Assistance Referee (VAR), Portugal took the lead through Ricardo Quaresma before the Concacaf titleholders Mexico hit back through Javier ‘Chicarito’ Hernandez.

Portugal thought they had won the tie when Southampton FC defender, Cedric Soares made it 2-1- the goal standing after a VAR review- before Moreno headed in for a corner in added time.

The result left hosts Russia atop of Group A following their 2-0 win over Norway on Saturday.

 

Tax probe

Portugal's forward Ricardo Quaresma (2R) and Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between Portugal and Mexico at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 18, 2017. PHOTO/AFP

Portugal’s forward Ricardo Quaresma (2R) and Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between Portugal and Mexico at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 18, 2017. PHOTO/AFP

Ronaldo, 32, was reportedly furious over a tax probe into the off-shore accounts dealing with his image rights, and has reportedly vowed to leave Spain but he ended speculation about his future before the match.

According to Spanish paper Marca on Sunday, Real Madrid’s coach Zinedine Zidane even broke off his holiday to call Ronaldo to try to persuade his star not to quit the club.

But Portugal’s talisman was at his best in an action-packed first half in his team’s opening match, with hosts Russia and New Zealand still to come in the group.

Ronaldo’s superb volley looked to have helped Portugal take the lead, but the video assistant referee came to Mexico’s rescue after Nani had put the ball in the net.

When Ronaldo’s volley thumped the crossbar, Nani pounced on the rebound, but the video ref spotted that four players were offside.

However, Portugal, and Ronaldo, were not to be denied.

Tapped home

Mexico's forward Javier Hernandez celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between Portugal and Mexico at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 18, 2017. PHOTO/AFP

Mexico’s forward Javier Hernandez celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between Portugal and Mexico at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 18, 2017. PHOTO/AFP

The Euro 2016 winners took the lead on 34 minutes when Ronaldo sprinted into the box and his beautifully-timed pass found Quaresma unmarked in the area.

The Besiktas winger drew Mexico’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and tapped home the opening goal.

But Mexico responded with Hernandez testing Portugal keeper Rui Patricio, before putting his side level.

Mexico’s all-time top scorer grabbed his 48th international goal from 93 appearances after some dreadful defending by Portugal.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Raphael Guerreiro failed to deal with a cross into the box and Carlos Vela teed up Hernandez, who met the cross with a diving header.

After an explosive opening period, the second was a much tamer affair as both teams squandered half chances as the tempo dropped.

With time running out, Southampton right-back Cedric pounced on a loose ball and slammed home Portugal’s second goal.

But with the 90 minutes up, Mexican defender Moreno rose highest from the final corner of the game to head in the equaliser.

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