Ochoa saves the day for Mexico in 0-0 draw
By Tales Azzoni ,AP
June 19, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
FORTALEZA, Brazil -- Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made a series of outstanding saves to help Mexico hold Brazil to a thrilling 0-0 draw at the World Cup on Tuesday.
The result leaves both teams with four points each after two games in Group A, but Brazil is ahead on goal difference going into their decisive final matches. Croatia and Cameroon meet on Wednesday for their second games after both opened with defeats.
Ochoa's first remarkable save prevented Neymar from scoring in the 26th minute. The Brazil striker's powerful header looked set to fly just inside the post when the goalkeeper dived to his right to push the ball wide.
Ochoa also made three other difficult saves to keep the hosts from breaking the deadlock — a shot by Paulinho in the 44th, a second-half effort by Neymar from inside the area and a close-range header by Thiago Silva in the 86th minute which produced a remarkable block by the Mexico goalkeeper.
"It was the match of my life," said Ochoa, who was visibly moved after the match. "To do it in a World Cup, in front of all the fans, it's incredible."
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera called Ochoa the "hero" of the match.
"He did what we expected him to do, he came up with extraordinary saves," Herrera said.
After stopping Silva's header, there was still time for a thrilling end to the game in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.
The referee dismissed Brazilian claims for a penalty after Marcelo seemed to have been grabbed in the 88th minute. Mexico then had two great chances, first with Andres Guardado's shot over the crossbar in the 90th and then with an effort by Raul Jimenez that was stopped by Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar in injury time.
"In the end, the 0-0 mirrors what happened, it was a very hard-fought match," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "The draw wasn't a good result because a victory would have already allowed us to advance, but we need to be able to respect our opponent, which played very well."