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Varela denies USA right at the end

Christiano Ronaldo, the world footballer of the year and his Portugal side will look to step up against USA and banish the demons of their disastrous opener against Germany, where they shipped in four unreplied goals. USA led by the German legend Jurgen Klinsmann however won their opening game against Ghana and look to take their chances and qualify from the group.

the game started with Portugal trying to get into their stride while USA defended and looked to counter. On the 5th minute, a defensive error by Cameron in the USA defence allowed Nani a clean sight at goal and he finished well. A rare move from the USA side into the Portugal box led to a corner and the US team began to work their way out of their horror start.

Johnson was looking dangerous with his runs from deep and was fouled by Bruno Alves on the 13th minute. Dempsey’s effort went over the bar. Tough tackling Miereles felt the force of the dreadlocked Beckerman and Portugal looses Helder Postiga to injury, Eder coming on in his place. Bradley’s long pass releases Dempsey but Bent saves well. Ronaldo was getting a close attention from the Americans who resort to physical play to disrupt their more illustrious opponents. Bradley’s fierce shot from deep on the 24th minute went over.

Moutinho started spreading his passes as Portugal sought to get another opening. Dempsey’s valiant drive into  the box was rewarded by a corner kick. Moutinho’s looping pass to Ronaldo was cut off  as another opening ended tamely. The veteran Beasley was proving a rock at the back for USA. Beto saved comfortably from a Jones shot.

Ronaldo’s shot at the other end was also saved by Howard. Ronaldo broke in a counter attacking move in the 42nd minute and found Nani but Howard saved and his free kick from a foul on Nani went high. Nani’s harmless looking shot hit the upright and Howard saved magnificently from Elder on the rebound. First half ended 1:0; advantage Portugal.

the second half will test the fitness of both teams in the harsh conditions of Manaus, deep in the Amazon rainforest. Portugal made their second change with William coming on for  Almeida. Another error by Cameron allowed Eder space, but his shot went wide. Johnson’s dangerous cross was pushed out for corner by Beto. Fabian Johnson stole in on the right and pulled back for Bradley but Ricardo Costa incredibly cleared on the line, with Beto beaten.

USA was defending in numbers and attacking at pace when they win possession while Portugal slowed down the game to a walking pace. Johnson was proving the bright light for USA and causing the left back all sorts of problems. Ronaldo was released in the 61st minute but his shot went horribly wild, as his disappointing World Cup continued.

Jermaine Jones equalised on the 64th minute from a ferocious shot off a corner kick, with Beto stranded. Raul Meireles’ shot off a Nani cross brought out a reaction save from Howard. Meireles was substituted for Varela, as Portugal sought inspiration from the bench. USA brought on Yedlin for Bedoya on the 72nd minute, for their first change of the night.

Moutinho was beginning to work his magic but his pass to Nani was wasted. Yedlin’s cross into the box fell to Bradley and his misconstrued pass to Clint Dempsey was bundled in on the 81st minute, to put USA ahead. Wondolowski came on for Dempsey as USA worked to shut down the game. Ronaldo’s header from a Moutinho cross went wide as Portugal was running out of ideas to break down the organised American defence.Omar Gonzalez came on for Zusi as USA ran down the clock.

It wasn’t to be as right at the end, a cross from Ronaldo was headed in bravely by Silvestre Varela to ensure the spoils were shared.

Final scores; USA 2: Portugal 2.

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About Kene Okoye

A creative writer, banker, pianist, composer and music promoter, Kene documents events and presents his viewpoint in compelling narratives. He sets out to create vivid pictures with his intelligent use of words and seeks to engage, thrill, educate and inspire the reader. Come on and enjoy yourself.

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