MOSCOW • In the absence of captain Cristiano Ronaldo who took leave from the national team to see his newborn twins, Adrien Silva was Portugal's unlikely hero as he scored an extra-time penalty to beat Mexico 2-1 and clinch third place in the Confederations Cup.
Portugal, who missed a spot kick given thanks to the video assistant referee (VAR) 16 minutes into the match, were awarded a second penalty after 104 minutes when Miguel Layun handled the ball.
Silva converted for his first international goal to give the European champions a hard-fought victory.
The win came after Pepe saved his side with an equaliser in the 91st minute, scoring past Mexico goalkeeper and man-of-the-match Guillermo Ochoa.
Mexico, 1999 Confederations Cup winners, had taken the lead after 54 minutes when Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio missed a Javier Hernandez cross and the ball bounced in off Luis Neto's leg for an own goal.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who made eight changes to the side who lost to Chile on penalties in the semi-finals, felt that his team deserved to win even though they did not play particularly well.
Penalties that Portugal have missed in the Confederations Cup, including three in their semi-final shoot-out defeat by Chile.
"Portugal had an excellent Confederations Cup. The performance wasn't spectacular but I'm proud of this team," the 62-year-old said.
"It was a good game. I think it was a fair win. Both teams tried to win, and that only made sense in a game like this.
"We had the misfortune to concede a goal, but we continued to fight for the result and we were happy to score at the end of regulation time.
"In the first game of the group stage (when Mexico came from behind twice to clinch a 2-2 draw) they were lucky, this time it was us."
The match did not lack drama towards the end even though both teams were not playing for the top prize in the tournament.
Portugal had Nelson Semedo sent off for a second booking after 106 minutes, and Mexico's Raul Jimenez was shown the red card six minutes later as both sides went all out for the win.
Mexico's Colombian coach Juan Carlos Osorio was also sent to the stands in the dying seconds after protesting about a decision not to consult the VAR over a penalty claim.
The 56-year-old has become increasingly unpopular as national coach and that incident could be a bitter end to his two-year reign.
The result also means Portugal are still unbeaten against Mexico in five encounters dating all the way back to 1969.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS