Action from the international friendly between Portugal and Mexico (green jersey) on June 6, 2014, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo: Mexsport)
FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts – Mexico conceded a late goal in its last World Cup tune-up and fell to Portugal 1-0 on Friday night before 56,292 fans at Gillette Stadium.
Playing without injured superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese were buoyed by an outstanding second-half performance from goalkeeper Eduardo and a stoppage-time winner from Fenerbahce defender Bruno Alves.
Starting a near full-strength side, El Tri relied on quality play by Jesus Corona in the early going as Portuguese winger Vieirinha forced the Cruz Azul goalkeeper into a diving 13th minute save. After heading over the bar just minutes later, Portuguese striker Eder saw his deflected shot be denied by Corona.
Mexico’s best chance of the first half came courtesy of Andres Guardado. In an attempt to capitalize on a poor Alves clearance, though, the winger fizzed a left-footed shot just beyond the mark.
With Guillermo Ochoa replacing Corona in goal, the second half started brightly for the Tricolor as Paul Aguilar’s shot from distance forced Eduardo into action.
Sparked by the 57th minute introduction of Javier Hernandez, Mexico created numerous scoring opportunities. Guardado put another good effort wide and Hernandez found Hector Herrera inside the area, but his subsequent effort was saved by a sprawling Eduardo.
As Mexico pushed numbers forward in search of a winner, Hernandez continued to cause problems for the Portuguese backline with his work rate and creativity. Finding a pocket of space between Portugal’s central defenders, the Manchester United forward fed Alan Pulido, but an onrushing Eduardo was there once again to thwart the danger.
It was against the run of play that Portugal produced the winner. In the third minute of stoppage time, a free kick from João Moutinho into the box found an unmarked Alves, whose header from 15-yards out curled just inside the right post to give the Selecção win.
Portugal will face Ireland in another friendly on Tuesday in East Rutherford, New Jersey, while Mexico heads to Brazil to prepare for its World Cup opener against Cameroon on June 13.