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Mexico and Poland tie in a hard-fought battle.
Mexico and Poland tie in a hard-fought battle. Photo: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

‘Memo’ Ochoa stops Lewandowski penalty as Mexico and Poland settle for a draw

Keeper ‘Memo’ Ochoa is Mexico’s hero tonight as he saved a Robert Lewandowski penalty, and secured one point for El Tri.

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Guillermo Memo Ochoa was once again Mexico’s World Cup hero — playing in his fifth World Cup campaign — as he stopped Barcelona and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski’s penalty in the 58th minute — securing Mexico’s hopes of getting out of the group stages. Lewandowski is still on the hunt for his first-ever World Cup goal for his country. 

Following Argentina’s shocking upset loss against Saudi Arabia earlier today, Nov. 22, both Mexico and Poland were hoping to get the win to take second place in Group C, but both sides had to settle for a draw in a great 90+ minute battle at Stadium 974 in Ras Abu Aboud, Doha, Qatar. 

It was an exciting 90 minutes for both sides with the penalty save being the highlight of the game. Mexico had the upper hand on the Polish side for most of the game — with the exception of the penalty awarded later in the second half. They created chances, were a lot more aggressive and quicker, and overall looked more composed compared to the Polish side. 

El Tri kept their foot on the pedal as Poland looked more than happy to absorb their offensive pressure. It was not until the final 20 minutes that Poland began attacking the Mexicans on the counterattack, but Mexico’s defensive line was solid enough to keep them away from getting real chances on their keeper and hero, Ochoa. 

While Mexico dominated possession, they had very few clear scoring chances with the exception of a Henry Martín header in the box that Poland’s goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny had to quickly dive to save. El Tri had over 61% of the ball compared to Poland’s 39%. Mexico also outpassed the Polish 83% to 70% in passing accuracy. 

Mexico's forward line of Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano, Alexis Vega, and Henry Martín did cause some stress on Poland’s backline as they put up 11 shots total with four on target. Most of Lewandowski and Co.’s six shots came in the second half and only two were on target. 

Although the play of the game that Mexico will be talking about for some time is the one made by their keeper ‘Memo’ Ochoa, who once again came up big for his nation, saving Lewandowski’s penalty. Ochoa guessed correctly and dove to the low left and punched the ball away. 

Mexico will look to take advantage of a dispirited Argentina squad that suffered a humiliating defeat earlier today to the Saudi’s, to take second place in an even-sided group on Saturday. Also on Saturday, Poland will face off against a Saudi Arabia team that is buzzing from their win today against Leo Messi and Co., which will prove to be a tough contest for Lewandowski's side. 

As we have seen so far early in this 2022 World Cup campaign, any result is possible and any team is capable of catching any team on an off day. 

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