Mexican goalkeeper Ochoa denies Brazil a win with a remarkable performance

He was called a hero and a saviour by his Mexican teammates. His Brazilian opponents said he produced miracles. There is no doubt that Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was the one responsible for spoiling Brazil’s hopes of another World Cup victory at its home tournament.

Ochoa made a series of outstanding saves to help his side hold Brazil to a thrilling 0-0 draw on Tuesday.

The result left 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.

APBrazil's Neymar (left) takes a free kick against Mexico's defensive wall.

Miraculous Ochoa

“We can’t avoid talking about their goalkeeper,” Brazil striker Fred said. “He came up with at least four miracles.”

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. To do it in a World Cup, in front of all the fans, it’s incredible," said an emotional Ochoa.

It was the match of my life. To do it in a World Cup, in front of all the fans, it’s incredible.

Mexico captain Rafael Marquez said Ochoa was the “saviour” and coach Miguel Herrera called him the “hero” of the match.

“He did what we expected him to do, he came up with extraordinary saves,” Herrera said. “I can’t remember another Mexican goalkeeper doing such a great job in the World Cup.”

‘Hard-fought match’

“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. We had a great match against a great rival playing in front of its fans, in its stadium, in its country,” he said. “We showed that we can play at the same level as any other team.”

Brazil had won all three previous World Cup matches between the teams without conceding a goal, but the Latin American rivals hadn’t met in the sport’s showcase tournament since 1962.

It was an evenly balanced game at the Arena Castelao, with Mexico not allowing Brazil to take control. El Tri didn’t play defensively and created chances throughout the match, especially with long-range shots by midfielders Hector Herrera and Jose Vazquez.

Brazil, playing without striker Hulk, turned up the pressure in the second half, but there was no getting past Ochoa.

The 28-year-old goalkeeper denied Paulinho just before halftime, blocking the midfielder’s shot after a loose ball inside the area, and then got his body in the way of Neymar’s drive inside the box. In the 86th, he was there on cue to block Silva’s powerful header from point-blank range.

APBrazil's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari

“The only thing missing was the goal,” Scolari said. “We need to give credit to their goalkeeper. He had a great day and that kept us from winning the match. He made some spectacular saves, was the best player of the match.”

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