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Brazil held to 0-0 by Mexico, Belgium rally to beat Algeria 2-1

English.news.cn   2014-06-18 08:48:40

RIO DE JANEIRO, 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 in Fortaleza on Tuesday.

In Group H, South Korea also produced a brave performance, scoring first and winning a point eventually by drawing with Russia 1-1. Group favorite Belgium came from behind to beat Algeria 2-1, thanks to goals from substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens.

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.

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.

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.

Brazilian skipper Thiago Silva met a freekick from Neymar in the centre of the Mexican penalty area six minutes from time and his thumping header was once again saved by an invincible Ochoa.

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.

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.

Belgium boasted 65 percent of the ball possession of the match, 10 attempts on target against the opponents' one. They deserved the win.

The statistics showed that Belgium won a match in which they conceded first for the first time in over four years.

Both sides played patiently and cautiously until the 25th minute when Valencia striker Sofiane Feghouli converted a penalty to lift Algeria to 1-0 lead.

Just a minute before, Algeria's Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam ran down from the left and crossed a great ball. Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen could not follow Feghouli's pace and took him down in the box with a sloppy tackle.

Algeria hadn't scored at World Cups since 1986 - a run of 506 consecutive minutes of football - but with Bolivia's unwanted World Cup record (517 minutes) beckoning, they finally found a way through.

Manchester United midfielder Fellaini, who came off the bench in the second half, tied the score with a close-range header on De Bryune's cross. The ball hit the bottom of the bar and bounced into the net.

On 80 minutes, Napoli's Mertens, aslo a substitute, gifted Belgium the 2-1 lead. A textbook counter-attack started with a great tackle from De Bryune who found Hazard further up the pitch. The Chelsea midfielder selflessly passed off to Mertens who took a touch and fired past MBolhi.

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev spilled Lee Keun-ho's long shot into his own net to give South Korea a lead in the 68th minute in Cuiaba.

Six minutes later, substitute Alexander Kerzhakov levelled the score.

Russia will next play Belgium while South Korea play Algeria.

Editor: Mengjie
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