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Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: Ochoa steals the show as Mexico hold Brazil

PHOTOS: Ochoa steals the show as Mexico hold Brazil

June 18, 2014 03:16 IST

PHOTOS: Ochoa steals the show as Mexico hold Brazil

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Little known Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa produced at least two stunning saves in a heroic display to deny a dominant Brazil a win in a high-voltage World Cup clash on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old Ochoa, who plays in France for AC Ajaccio, first thwarted Neymar's 26th minute header with a spectacular dive to his right and then again blocked Thiago Silva's headed attempt in the 87th minute to the huge groan of the sea of yellow-clad Selecao fans.

Superstar Neymar, who scored two goals in Brazil's 3-1 opening match win against Croatia, had plenty of the ball and made some threatening runs into the rival box under hot and humid conditions at Estadio Castelao.


Image: Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico celebrates with Javier Aquino after their 0-0 draw with Brazil
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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Stubborn Mexican defence

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But ultimately, the five-time champions failed to break down the stubborn Mexican defence and the seemingly impenetrable wall thrown around their goal by Ochoa. Mexico survived the grinding offence from Brazil and frustrated the hosts' march to the round of 16 qualification.

After the draw, the second scoreless draw of this World Cup after Iran vs Nigeria yesterday, Brazil and Mexico occupy to top spot in Group A on four points each. The group, which also has Croatia and Cameroon as other teams, is now wide open.

Brazil dominated the first half with more possession and applied pressure mostly from the left through Marcelo, Oscar and Neymar trying to break dowm the Mexico defence.


Image: Neymar of Brazil takes on Jose Juan Vazquez of Mexico and Francisco Javier Rodriguez
Photographs: Pool/Getty Images

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Neymar's header was palmed away by Ochoa

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The first chance for Brazil came in the 14th minute with Marcelo breaking down and trying to get the ball across the Mexican box. Fred and Paulinho had half-chances, but neither could find the target.

Mexico sat back defending for most part of the first half but 24th minute saw Hector Herrera finding space to smash the ball towards the Brazil goal only to be tipped over by goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Neymar was denied a goal in the 26th minute as his header off a Dani Alves cross was palmed away by Ochoa diving to his right in one of the most fabulous saves in the World Cup so far.


Image: Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico makes a save after a header by Thiago Silva of Brazil
Photographs: Miguel Tovar/Getty Images

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Ochoa blocked Thiago Silva's shot

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Ochoa again denied Brazil another goal in the 43rd minute with another brilliant save. A Neymar freekick was chested down by Thiago Silva and there were three Brazilian players unmarked inside the box. Paulinho tried to lift the ball over Ochoa, but the keeper magnificently kept it out.

Brazil coach Filipe Scolari substituted largely ineffective Ramires at the right attacking side by Bernard in the second half but kept an out-of-sorts striker Fred to continue till the 67th minute before being replaced by Jo.

The first 15 minutes of second half saw Mexico attacking with some fine moves and Brazil losing momentum. Mexico had three fine long range efforts aiming to test Caesar but all of them flew above the bar.

The momentum then shifted to Brazil and the yellow clad home supporters had a huge groan after Neymar's stinging left footer was again blocked by goalie Ochoa, the third spectacular save of the match.

A Jo strike from acute angle off a Marcelo pass in the 75th minute went wide as Brazil pressed frenetically for a goal.

Ochoa was at it again when he somehow was at the right position to block a Thiago Silva header off a Neymar free kick.


Image: Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa makes a save
Photographs: Sergio Moraes/Reuters

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