World Cup: Brazil held by Mexico as party spirit dampens

BRAZIL 0 MEXICO 0

BRAZIL’S hopes of advancing to the knockout stages as group winners were dented last night thanks to some wasteful finishing and an outstanding display from Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

The 28-year-old, who is unattached having left French club AC Ajaccio following their relegation from Ligue 1, denied Neymar, Paulinho and Thiago Silva with smart saves to bring an abrupt halt to Brazil’s 10-match winning run and deny them a goal for only the second time in two years.

An expectant crowd in Fortaleza saw Brazil make a high tempo start after a passionate rendition of their national anthem and Ochoa made the first of his string of fine saves to claw away Neymar’s towering backpost header.

On the stroke of half-time, Paulinho latched onto Silva’s chest control, but saw his goalbound poke smothered away.

Mexico enjoyed a good spell at the beginning of the second half, with former Tottenham forward Giovani dos Santos and Hector Herrera going close, but spent the final 20 minutes on the back foot.

Neymar hooked a half-volley at Ochoa and substitute Jo, once of Manchester City and Everton, dragged a shot wide across goal.

But the game’s best chance fell to Silva with four minutes remaining, when he found space to meet Neymar’s free-kick with a bullet header, but Ochoa’s strong hand earned Mexico an important point.