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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. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

YURI CORTEZ/Getty Images

Hector Moreno scored a stoppage-time equaliser as Mexico battled back to earn a 2-2 draw against Portugal in their Group A opener at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Southampton full-back Cedric Soares thought he had won it for Portugal when he scored on 86 minutes, only for Moreno to earn a point for El Tri late on.

Ricardo Quaresma and Javier Hernandez both scored in the first half of a tight game at the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo skippered an experienced Portugal starting XI also featuring wingers Nani and Quaresma, per FIFA.com. Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen striker Hernandez joined Real Sociedad’s Carlos Vela in attack for El Tri.

Ronaldo took time to get going.

Ronaldo took time to get going.Martin Meissner/Associated Press

It was PSV Eindhoven midfielder Andres Guardado who put Mexico on the front early on, driving from the middle to probe for gaps and shooting opportunities in the final third.

El Tri were winning the midfield battle, with Villarreal No. 8 Jonathan dos Santos also combining well with Guardado. Yet for all their probing, Mexico struggled to find openings against a resolute Portugal back line early on.

Ronaldo took 21 minutes to pose his first threat, forcing goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa into a smart save after shooting on the rebound when his free-kick was blocked by the wall. Frustration grew for Ronaldo when he thought he had created the opening goal, volleying off the crossbar before Pepe put in the rebound, only for the video replay to show offside.

Portugal did finally make it 1-0 on 34 minutes when Quaresma opened their account after being played in by Ronaldo. It was harsh on Mexico who had done most of the running, but Portugal have mastered the art of striking on the break.

The assist from Ronaldo continued the talisman’s run as his nation’s most prolific source of goals, per Squawka Football:

Portugal were ahead for just eight minutes, until Hernandez planted a close-range diving header in on 42 minutes. The clever finish maintained the striker’s brilliant form in front of goal for El Tri:

It also meant Hernandez kept up his habit of scoring at a Confederations Cup, per FIFA’s official Twitter account:

The second half was short of chances, even though both sides made attacking substitutions. Mexico introduced Giovani dos Santos for Vela, while Portugal swapped Nani for Sporting Lisbon star Gelson Martins.

Quaresma and Dos Santos each went close entering the final 10 minutes, but the match appeared to be headed for a draw. However, Portugal finally broke the deadlock four minutes from time when Cedric turned in from close range to apparently get the UEFA Euro 2016 champions off to a winning start.

Moreno was the late hero for Mexico.

Moreno was the late hero for Mexico.Martin Meissner/Associated Press

However, El Tri weren’t finished yet and duly grabbed a point when AS Roma defender Moreno scored from a corner.

Honours even is probably a fair result between the two most talented teams in Group A.

 

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