Angola frustrates Mexico with 0-0 draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Goalkeeper Joao Ricardo frustrated Mexico with some dramatic saves to help World Cup newcomer Angola hold Mexico to a 0-0 draw.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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Hanover, Germany:

Goalkeeper Joao Ricardo frustrated Mexico with some dramatic saves to help World Cup newcomer Angola hold Mexico to a 0-0 draw in Group D. Angola, which was reduced to 10 men in the 79th minute, kept its favored opponents out of the net while keeping itself alive for a spot in the second round. After an opening 1-0 loss to Portugal, the Black Antelopes frustrated the Mexicans with desperate defending to earn their first point at the World Cup. The draw also postponed Mexico's celebrations. The Mexicans sought to move to the verge of the round-of-16 with a second victory. Ricardo's most desperate effort came in the 57th minute, racing off his line and leaping to thwart Guillermo Franco's attempt to chip him from inside the penalty area. Second-half substitute Jesus Arellano put the rebound back on goal, but Jamba cleared the ball off the line. The result left Mexico atop Group D with four points. Mexico, without the injured Jared Borgetti, used midfielder Zinha as a replacement, but visibly agitated coach Ricardo Volpe abandoned that plan in the 53rd minute, replacing him with Arellano as a third striker. Ricardo also thwarted Franco with a minute remaining in the first half, but was anything but perfect. Twice he dropped balls in the first half, including one on Rafael Marquez's cross that Jamba had to clear. Mexico was supported by what seemed to be double its fan contingent from the first game, filling most of Hamburg's 43,200 capacity stadium to the point where it drowned out the recorded music for the Mexican national anthem. Taking advantage of the atmosphere, Mexico dominated the first 20 minutes, forcing Angola to foul to thwart attacks. Its best efforts included Carlos Salcido's shot from 30 meters that landed in the top netting and Marquez's free kick from 35 meters that deflected off the wall and onto the right post. But after Angola weathered the initial surge in the opening 20 minutes, the Black Antelopes began to gain some possession and force Mexico to defend. It was mostly limited to long-range efforts but kept the ball out of Angola's end. Mendonca's effort from 35 meters in the 55th was typical of Angola's chances, but after Andre was ejected in the 79th minute with a second yellow card for a handball, the Black Antelopes concentrated on blocking the Mexicans. Ricardo needed one last big save, diving to push wide Marquez's 35-meter drive in the 88th. Angola's few thousand red-clad supporters in the southwest corner of the stadium became more vocal as the game wore on, interrupted only by occasional moments of "si se puede" (yes we can) from the Mexican fans.

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