FORTALEZA, Brazil, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Thanks to a series of impressive saves from their goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, a well-organized Mexico held the highly-favored World Cup hosts Brazil 0-0 in the second round Group A match here on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old Ochoa, who was currently a free agent after a three-year spell in French club Ajaccio from 2011-2014, came from nowhere to become the Man of The Match in front of a star-studded Brazilian squad.
"We knew it would be difficult to face Brazil in their home. We hoped that people would support it, they (players) would give twice the effort. Luckily the team showed solid defense and it was a good point for us. I think we go away happy," said Ochoa after the match.
Ochoa's first shining point came 25 minutes into the first half. He palmed away a close-range hammer from Brazilian superstar Neymar in the far post with a flying save, and that decisive save was just a start of a remarkable night for the goalie.
"The header was the trickiest (of all the shots). It was a die finish near the post. It was the hardest," Ochoa recalled.
In the 43rd minute Brazil were awarded with a long free-kick. Thiago Silva chested the ball down and Ochoa was left face-to-face with three Brazilian players and the 28-year-old managed to deny Paulinho's chip shot with his right leg and keep the scoreline 0-0.
Paying much attention on their defence line, the Mexicans' first real chance came in the 23rd minute when Hector Herrera's long shot flew high above the bar. Throughout the first half, the Mexican team, known as "El Tri", only had four shots from outside of the area which all went wide while the hosts were 6% higher in terms of ball possession, with a total of nine shots and six of them on target.
In the second half "El Tri" was more active in their attacking and added four more shots in the first ten minutes after the match resumed. However, the best opportunities were still created by the Selecao.
In the 68th minute Neymar brought down a cross in the box and lashed it towards the bottom right corner of the gate. And it was Ochoa again that saved the team single-handedly as he blocked the shot with his body.
Seven minutes later, second half substitute Bernard created space for himself between the Mexican midfield and defence, he set up a through ball to Jo, who was also a substitute, and the latter saw his left foot effort dribble wide.
In the 86th minute, Brazilian skipper Thiago Silva met a freekick from Neymar in the centre of the Mexican penalty area and his thumping header was once again saved by an invincible Ochoa.
"El Tri" could have wrapped-up a victory with a late winner but the powerful shot from Raul Jimenez was kept out by Brazil veteran keeper Julio Cesar.
The post-match news conference was also focused on Ochoa as both coaches praised him for his wonderful display.
"I do not like their goalkeeper," Brazilian coach Luiz Scolari joked. "He was really spectacular. His blocks were great. He was very calm, confident and well- positioned."
"We have three or four very good opportunities today but they had a very good keeper on a very good day. We had to realise that he defended marvellously. Mexico also shot very well from outside of the penalty area," Scolari added.
"He responded as we figured he would," said Miguel Herrera coach of Mexico. "He made extraordinary saves. We tried to score but went high and they had a couple of shots as well and couldn't score."
Mexico have ended Brazil's ten match winning streak, which has been currently the longest worldwide.
Mexico maintained the same line-up they used in the 1-0 narrow victory against Cameroon last Friday, while Brazil only made one change in the field from the 3-1 win against Croatia as Chelsea mid Ramires replaced injured Hulk in the starting 11.
"He (Hulk) could have played today and he decided to stay on the bench. So we decided to start with Ramires," Scolari explained.