MATCH CENTRE

SUN 22 JUNE 2014, 23:59, ARENA AMAZONIA

2
VS
2

Varela strike keeps Portugal hopes alive

by Bertin Basson

Mon June 23, 02:16

Silvestre Varela scored with virtually the final kick of the game to keep Portugal and African representatives Ghana's 2014 World Cup hopes alive in a thrilling 2-2 draw with the United States of America at the Arena Amazonia in Manaus on Sunday.


The USA looked certain to book their place in the last 16 alongside Germany following Clint Dempsey's goal nine minutes from time, but Varela's strike keeps Group G wide open heading into the final round of fixtures.


Portugal opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute, through Nani who bagged his 15th goal for A Selecção


Geoff Cameron's failed clearance from a Miguel Velosa effort fell favourably for the Manchester United winger who fooled Tim Howard, before blasting the ball into the roof of the net.


The United States were arguably the better side for the remainder of the half with Dempsey the main protagonist for the Stars and Stripes.


Dempsey ran the Portuguese centre backs ragged for the better part of the half, with the former Tottenham Hotspur forward and Michael Bradley troubling Sevilla shot stopper Beto.


Portugal though had their moments, especially on the counter with Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo a constant threat.


Howard produced an outstanding reflex stop on the cusp of half-time to deny Eder.


The Everton glovesman made a slight hash of Nani's initial effort as he could only manage to tip onto the post, but produced an excellent save to deny the Braga striker's follow-up shot.


Bradley should have tied things up 10 minutes into the second stanza.


With Beto stranded, the former Roma midfielder had the simple task of tapping the ball into the net, but his effort was superbly cleared off the line by Ricardo Costa.


Jermain Jones leveled matters with an unstoppable striker in the 64th minute.


Portugal failed to properly clear their lines from a corner-kick, the German midfielder picked up the ball, danced past Nani before firing past Beto who was rooted to is spot.


USA skipper Clint Dempsey handed the States the lead in the 81st minute, tapping in Graham Zusi's cross from close range.


With seconds left, the game seemingly out of reach and their World Cup dreams almost over Ronaldo whipped in a wicked cross which Varela got on the end of  to spare Portuguese blushes.

MATCH STATISTICS
MATCH VENUE REFEREE
GROUP STAGE ARENA AMAZONIA
USA GOALS PORTUGAL GOALS
13. Jermain Jones (64') 17. Nani (5')
8. Clint Dempsey (81') 18. Silvestre Varela (90 + 5')
CAUTIONS DISMISSALS CAUTIONS DISMISSALS
1
USA STARTING LINEUP PORTUGAL STARTING LINEUP
Goalkeeper
1
Goalkeeper
22
Defender
7
Defender
46'
19
Defender
23
Defender
2
Defender
20
Defender
21
Defender
5
Defender
13
Midfielder
72'
11
Midfielder
8
Midfielder
81'
87'
8
Midfielder
4
Midfielder
90 + 1'
19
Midfielder
68'
16
Midfielder
64'
75'
13
Forward/Striker
7
Midfielder
15
Forward/Striker
16'
23
Midfielder
4
Forward/Striker
5'
17
SUBSTITUTIONS
DeAndre Yedlin
Defender
72'
2
Eder (BRG)
Forward/Striker
16'
11
Chris Wondolowski
Forward/Striker
87'
18
William Carvalho
Midfielder
46'
6
Omar Gonzalez
Defender
90 + 1'
3
Silvestre Varela
Forward/Striker
68'
18
CARDS
Jermain Jones
Midfielder
75'
13
KEY
Goal
Penalty Missed
Yellow Card
Substitute IN
Own Goal
Penalty Shootout Goal
Yellow / Red Card
Substitute OUT
Penalty
Penalty Shootout Miss
Red Card
Injury
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