Mexico 0, Portugal 1 | International Friendly Match Recap
Mexico suffered a second straight loss in their World Cup preparation, falling 1-0 to Portugal in dramatic fashion on Friday at a packed Gillette Stadium. Bruno Alves got the lone goal of the game in the final minute of second-half stoppage time when he was not picked up on a set piece, allowing him to snap a header into the top corner from 12 yards out.
It was the final game for Mexico before they take on Cameroon on June 13, while Portugal have one more warmup in the United States, against Ireland on June 10, before heading to Brazil, where they kick things off on June 16.
Mexico shut out again: There's reason to hope after Mexico's second half performance, but the fact is that Mexico have now gone 194 minutes without scoring after putting three goals past Israel and Ecuador to open their World Cup warm-ups. Oribe Peralta barely touched the ball in the first half (echoing worries from their loss to Bosnia earlier in the week), despite efforts from Mexico's wingbacks to get up the field and involve themselves in play.
Things looked better for Mexico in the second half as they made smarter runs in attack, which in turn led to some chances. Portugal goalkeeper Eduardo was equal to all of them, most a point-blank look from Javier "Chicharito" Hernández early in the half and a one-on-one attempt from Alan Pulido in the 89th minute.
No CR7? No problem: Not what USMNT fans want to hear, but Portugal looked good in the first half even without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo (or Raul Meireles and Pepe, for that matter). They didn't score, but a front line led by Nani caused an out of shape Mexico defense some serious headaches. Cornrowed striker Éder looked like a handful, and Portugal's impressive midfield three of Fábio Coentrão, Miguel Veloso and João Moutinho were especailly adept in the first half against their Mexican counterparts.
No CR7? Problem: After a strong first half, Portugal looked overrun by a suddenly more cohesive El Tri, and had very little in the way of an outlet up top without Ronaldo. This led to a few hard fouls from the Portuguese in midfield as Mexico started to combine better and get more numbers in attack.
The battle for No. 1: Jesús Corona appears to be Mexico's No. 1 heading into the World Cup, and showed why once again on Friday evening. He made a pair of excellent saves in the 13th and 22nd minutes of the game, keeping Portugal off the board when they were threatening most. His halftime replacement, Guillermo Ochoa, fared equally well, his best stop a point-blank save just minutes into the second period.
Mexico lineup for Cameroon: Head coach Miguel Herrera said this lineup could be the one that opens the tournament against Cameroon in a week's time. So ... don't you want to know how they lined up?
Man of the Match: Bruno Alves, Portugal. The imposing center back made sure Peralta & Co. saw very little of the ball near Portugal's box in the first half, scrambled well when Mexico ramped up the pressure in the second half and scored on a fine header to win it.