(Javier Torres Cifuentes / Goal.com)
In a truly cracking affair at the Toulon Tournament, Mexico and Portugal drew, 3-3, after a Jose Abella goal in the 80th minute tied the game in its waning moments.
It was his second of the match, while Portugal's Aladje was brilliant, scoring two goals (a third was disallowed) and adding an assist.
Mexico got things started with a bang, scoring within minutes. A lovely cross found Marco Bueno in the box and the player didn't miss, heading home the game's first goal.
Portugal felt they equalized in the 30th minute, but Aladje's headed goal was disallowed after offsides was called.
Mexico nearly doubled their lead in the 32nd minute, as Armando Zamorano was set free alone on goal from a Mexico two-on-one on the counter-attack. But while his chip attempt beat the keeper, it also sailed over the bar, wasting a golden opportunity.
That miss would prove to be costly. Portugal would equalize just two minutes later off a corner, as Aladje would score on a near-post header.
Mexico nearly stole the lead back in first-half stoppage time after a Jonathan Espericueta through ball sent Bueno in on goal, seeking his second goal of the game, but the forward's shot missed high to the right. For a second time in the half, Mexico had wasted a golden chance.
Much as they had done in the first half, however, Mexico would strike early in the second, taking the lead back in the 50th minute.
Antonio Briseno would flick on a corner into the center of the box, where Jose Abella was waiting to rise above the Portuguese defense and head home Mexico's second goal.
But once again, Aladje would answer for Portugal.
Portugal would stream forward on the attack and Joao Mario would calmly collect the ball off a scramble and find his teammate. Aladje would free himself on his right foot after deking the defense and curl a low effort into the far post, equalizing for Portugal.
Portugal would take the lead in the 72nd minute.
This time, Aladje would set up the goal. After playing a pass on the counter with a deft touch gave him some room to operate in front of two Mexican defenders, he played a perfectly weighted through ball to a streaking Ivan Cavaleiro. The substitute made the most of his opportunity, smashing home a near-post shot that keeper Richard Sanchez couldn't push clear of goal.
Fox Soccer Trax has more on the goal:
Sanchez will be disappointed, but Ivan Cavaleiro had him at his mercy after Aladje's pass split the defense— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) June 4, 2013
Portugal thought they had the game won, but Mexico had one last bit of magic in store in the 80th minute.
After having two headers on goal denied on a corner kick, Mexico earned a second corner and this time equalized. Again, it was Abella who directed a corner into the net, as he was found unmarked after a flick into the center of the box, giving Mexico a shocking late score.
That's how the game would finish, with both sides surely disappointed at the result.
Man of the Match: Aladje, Portugal
With two goals and an assist—and a third goal that was taken off the board due to an offsides call—it was a pretty easy decision making Aladje the man of the match. He offered a physical presence leading the line and Mexico never really had an answer for the talented forward.
He also saved his best moments for key periods in the match, twice erasing a Mexican lead before setting up the third goal.
Mexico's Abella is the game's honorable mention for Man of the Match.
This draw ensures that Brazil will reach the Toulon final and face Colombia, per Fox Soccer Trax:
TOULON FT Mexico U20 3 Portugal U20 3. This result means that Brazil U20 qualify for the Toulon final v Colombia— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) June 4, 2013
Since Brazil already has nine points while the most Portugal and Mexico can earn is seven, Brazil is in. With one game left apiece, both teams will now be trying to reach the third-place game.