FORMER Tottenham and Fulham star Clint Dempsey stole the limelight from Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United’s Nani after scoring a late goal for the USA in their World Cup Group G clash with Portugal, but victory was cruelly denied by Silvestre Varela who headed home with the last touch of the game to earn a point for his side.
The US got off to the worst possible start when Man Utd winger Nani struck after just five minutes, making the most of Geoff Cameron’s cruel deflection to fire home for Portugal.
Dempsey was at the heart of every USA move, and came close to equalising with a curving free-kick which skimmed the bar.
Fabian Johnson nearly found the equaliser with a powerful effort as Portugal looked short of ideas.
Ronaldo was less than his usual self, but came close to assisting Nani on the stroke of half-time, only to be denied by a world-class save from Everton keeper Tim Howard.
Eder almost put his side two to the good on 50 minutes but saw his shot fly over the bar.
Michael Bradley though he had put the US back on level terms, but his strike was dramatically blocked off the line by Ricardo Costa.
However Jermaine Jones fired home a rocket of a shot to equalise for the USA and stun Ronaldo’s Portugal.
The goal gave the US the impetus to search for a second, and Dempsey grabbed the goal when he pounced in the 81st minute to send the USA crowd wild.
Portugal pushed high as they looked for an equaliser, and Varela pounced to earn a late point.
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