Mexico picked up three crucial points in their push for a FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final berth, coming from behind to extinguish New Zealand’s hopes of the final four with a 2-1 win.
The All Whites could all too easily have been out of sight after talisman Chris Wood spurned a series of chances, even though it was the big striker who opened the scoring. Eight changes from the side who drew with Portugal saw Mexico cut a disjointed unit before equalising.
Raul Jimenez was the one to hammer them level with a thumping finish as El Tri rediscovered their footing, before Oribe Peralta then struck the crucial blow. There was almost late drama, though, as Ryan Thomas thumped the bar as their hopes of staying in the hunt for a semi-final spot evaporated.
“Mexico can consider themselves extremely lucky as they managed to scrape a 2-1 victory against a brave New Zealand team. Surprised by the All Whites’ high pressure and intensity, El Tri never looked comfortable and struggled up until the very end, with chances on both goals. Three points are three points, one could say but there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
“New Zealand won over the neutrals with a brave performance, and they will feel hard done by not to come away with anything. The team ran their socks off, looked much more comfortable on the ball than in the opener and should have scored another goal or two. After the break, Mexico simply had too much skill in the attacking third.”
Budweiser Man of the Match
A fleet-footed figure down the left flank, Javier Aquino, who teed up the winner following a fine run, was a constant threat for Mexico and repeated thorn in the side of the Kiwi defence.