Angola hold Mexico to 0-0 draw in Group D
Friday, June 16, 2006
While the Angolan's game was not all defense, they had eight shots and five corner kicks, it was Mexico who had much the best chances in the game and will be disappointed not to have scored a number of goals.
Three minutes into injury time Ramon Morales hung a high ball that dipped over the Angolan keeper. Ricardo stretched and the 36 year old goalkeeper, who did not have a football club, clinched the ball like a trophy and earned his team a 0-0 draw. It was Angola's first World Cup point.
For a nation where average life expectancy is 38 years this was the biggest result in Angolan football history. The result also meant if Angola beat Iran they still had a mathematical chance to get into the knock-out stage of the Fifa World Cup.
In the first half the crowd was subdued as chances were few. Mexico had free kicks saved, one from Rafael Marquez had come off the post. For Angola Figueiredo's free kick found Fabrice Akwa only for the captain's header to go nowhere near the goal.
The best chance in free play before the break fell to Mexico's Guillermo Franco. A long ball into box on 44 minutes bounced off a defender but Ricado was in the way of Franco's weak shot.
Ricardo La Volpe had been banned from smoking on the touchline by Fifa after being observed doing so in his first game. Against Iran the Mexican coach was credited with a change in the game after half time.
Sans cigarettes, this happened again against Angola but his team just couldn't get past Ricardo.
Franco was denied once more on 55 minutes when he tried to lob the keeper but Ricardo got a hand to it. The ball then dropped to Jesus Arellano but his shot was tame and a defender on the line cleared.
When a defensive clearance rebounded to Omar Bravo Ricardo was in the right place to pick up the striker's scuffed shot.
Ricardo, the Fifa Man of the Match, missed a few crosses but when he got them he didn't drop them. On 64 minutes a cross was whipped in from the right and he caught the cross spectacularly with one-hand.
Angolan attacks were limited. Mendonca's drive went straight to Oswald Sanchez while a Figueiredo blast from outside the box cleared the bar.
On 80 minutes Andre was sent off for deliberate hand ball, his second yellow card offense in the game. All Angolan energies were now diverted to keep the scores level.
It was a difficult last ten minutes. Jesus Arellano floated a cross from midfield to Jose Fonseca but his volley went wide. With great technique Marquez connected superbly with a long 35 yard drive but Ricardo leapt to his right and used both hands to push the ball behind for a corner.
While two minutes remained Mexico hit the post for the second time in the match. Ricardo missed a fast cross but Omar Bravo's instinctive redirection toward goal was centimeters out.
The qualifiers from Group D was not settled by the result, Friday. Mexico's progress became more tricky. But the Central Americans still had the upper hand. Luis De Oliveira Goncalves's side had to score goals against Iran while Mexico needed only to not lose to Portugal in their last game to certainly go through.
|June 16, 2006|
- 01 P Joao Ricardo 86'
- 03 J Jamba
- 05 C Kali
- 21 L Delgado 13'
- 20 M Loco
- 07 P Figueiredo (Substituted: 72' M Rui Marques)
- 08 A Macanga 44' 79'
- 11 D Mateus (Substituted: 68' P Mantorras)
- 14 A Mendonca
- 17 J Ze Kalanga 50' (Substituted: 83' M Miloy)
- 10 F Akwa
Fifa World Cup Group D table June 16, 2006