Hector Moreno snatched a stoppage-time equaliser as Mexico denied Portugal a late victory in their opening Confederations Cup match.
Substitute Cedric Soares looked like being the European champions’ hero with his 86th-minute deflected shot, but Moreno’s header from a corner spoiled the Southampton defender’s celebration of his first international goal to snatch a 2-2 draw for Mexico.
The late drama took much of the focus away from Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo who, apart from the assist for Ricardo Quaresma’s opener, failed to inspire his side.
There was huge focus on Ronaldo after news broke on Friday of his desire to leave Real Madrid and quit Spain for good because of his unhappiness at a tax investigation against him, but he frequently cut an isolated figure up front due to Portugal coach Fernando Santos’ cautious tactics.
The match kicked off in Kazan after a moment of silence in memory of the victims who have died in forest fires in Pedrogao Grande, Portugal.
It took a while for both sides to settle but the first real action of interest was possibly the most contentious.
Portugal defender Pepe thought he had opened the scoring in the 21st minute when he turned in a cross-shot after Ronaldo had smashed a shot against the crossbar, having blasted his initial free kick into the defensive wall.
However, Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana called for a review from the video assistant referee and it was eventually ruled Pepe was one of four players who were offside from Joao Moutinho’s first cross into the box following the failed set-piece.
Within 15 minutes Portugal had taken the lead, however, with Ronaldo, who has now scored or provided an assist in each of his last seven games for the national team, almost inevitably at the heart of it.
The former Manchester United forward capitalised on Carlos Salcedo misjudging a header just inside his own half to race into the penalty area and, given too much time to turn, the Portugal captain was able to easily pick out the unmarked Quaresma, who deceived Guillermo Ochoa with his first touch and slotted home with his second.
Ronaldo’s backheel then saw Quaresma fire narrowly wide but another defensive error allowed Mexico to draw level three minutes before the break.
Raphael Guerreiro missed a cross at the far post which gave Carlos Vela the chance to hook the ball back across for Hernandez to power home a diving header.
Mexico’s all-time leading scorer still had time before the end of the half to blaze over from a good position.
The second half had little action until the final 10 minutes when, after goalkeeper Ochoa brilliantly saved Andre Silva’s header, Soares’ lung-bursting run into the penalty area saw him score with a huge deflection off Hector Herrera.
But Portugal’s celebrations were premature as Moreno popped up with the equaliser.