Ochoa hero, Akinfeev villain in World Cup draws

Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:31pm EDT
 
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By Brian Homewood

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa produced a heroic performance in a 0-0 draw with Brazil and his Russian counterpart Igor Akinfeev was the villain in a 1-1 draw with South Korea as the World Cup produced more drama on Tuesday.

While Ochoa kept Brazil at bay, the hapless Akinfeev was left to bury his head in his hands after he allowed Lee Keun-ho's straightforward shot from 25 meters to slip through his grasp.

Algeria ended their 28-year wait for a World Cup goal when they took a shock lead against Belgium although it was not enough as the highly-rated Europeans hit back to win 2-1 in the day's other match.

Ochoa produced four world class saves to deny Paulinho, Neymar (twice) and Thiago Silva when they seemed certain to score in an intense, end-to-end match in tropical Fortaleza which left both teams with four points from two games in Group A.

Silva thought he had won the game in the closing minutes with a powerful header only to see his effort parried at point blank range by the Mexican keeper.

Despite the scoreline, the match was anything but dull and the Mexicans enjoyed long periods of possession, bravely taking the game to the hosts in the second half.

"I believe this was the best match of my life because this was a World Cup game and this is very important," said Ochoa.

"I don't know whether I can think of another goalkeeper in memory...someone who has done what Memo (Ochoa) did today," Mexico coach Miguel Herrera told a news conference.   Continued...

 
Mexico's Guillermo Ochoa waves to the audience at the end of their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match against Brazil  at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake