Mexico stretch their unbeaten run to 20 games with a 3-1 win over Uruguay in the Copa America 2016 Group C match at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona on Sunday.
It need only four minutes for El Tri to take the lead. A delicious cross from Andres Guardado from the left was directed into his own net by Alvaro Pereira, but that’s really harsh on him. Had he not turned the ball past his own goalkeeper, Hector Herrera, who was vying to make contact, certainly would have.
Uruguay were reduced to 10 men before the break when midfielder Matias Vecino picked up his second booking for a rash tackle. Oscar Tabarez’s men fought back brilliantly after the break and restored parity through their skipper Diego Godin.
Prior to the goal, Mexico found themselves on the back foot with Guardado picking up a red card, making the match evenly balanced with 10 vs 10.
Mexico responded sharply and eventually found the winner in the 86th minute through their veteran skipper Rafa Marquez. Herrera did the finishing job by putting an icing on the cake in stoppage time with a header from close range. The margin and the manner of Mexico’s victory remind us again why they are considered dark horses to lift the trophy this year.
Uruguay’s nightmare first half and recovery
The trauma began before the ball being kicked. It started with the wrong national anthem being played. Chile’s national anthem was played instead of theirs leaving both the players and fans bamboozled.
Then they conceded an early goal through Pereira, which is, in fact, the fastest own goal in the Copa America’s 100-year history. And things got bad to worse when they went down to 10-men before half time.
Despite all these, they showed a great fighting spirit and crawled back into the match through Godin. In the end, they somehow lost their composure and discipline again and were brutally punished with two quick goals.
The result could have been different with Suarez on the side
Uruguay created few excellent chances and had they converted those the results could have been different. Edinson Cavani was played in clear on goal in the 30th minute but all the PSG striker could do was to hit the goalkeeper from close range.
In the second half, Diego Rolan had the goal at his mercy, after being spoonfed by Cavani, but he fluffed his lines and fired wide from six yards out. Had Suarez been there in those situations, one would expect him to score with both eyes closed.
Godin superb but why was he upset with the ref?
The Uruguayan skipper was simply outstanding throughout the match. He was undoubtedly their best player and brought his team back into the game when his side needed a source of inspiration. He was terrific at the back but he did make one mistake and that was playing everyone onside for Mexico’s second goal. He showed his frustration at the referee for allowing the goal, probably feeling they were being wrongly treated, but it was his fault anyway.
The evergreen Rafa Marquez
What a player! At 37, his timing is still as good as ever. He might not have the legs to cover distances anymore, but brings all his experience to the side. It was his first goal for his country since scoring against Croatia in the 2014 World Cup. The former Barcelona star proves that age is nothing but just a number.
Can Mexico win the tournament?
Beating Uruguay puts Mexico in a favourable position to win the group. This may allow them to avoid Argentina in the quarterfinals. Who wants to deal with Lionel Messi and his company anyway? However, the equation may change if Chile beat Argentina on Monday to shake everything up.
Mexico: Talavera 8; Araujo 6, Marquez 8, Moreno 7; Layun 6, Herrera 8, Reyes 7, Guardado 7; Corona 6 (Duenas 60, 5.5), Chicharito 6 (Jimenez 82), Aquino 7 (Lozano 54, 6).
Yellow Cards: Guadrado, Jimenez
Sent off: Guadrado
Uruguay: Muslera 6; M Pereira 6, Godin 8, Gimenez 7, A Pereira 4; Rios 5, Lodeiro 7, Vecino 4, Sanchez 7 (Ramirez 84); Cavani 6, Rolan 5.
Yellow Cards: Vecino, A Pereira, Godin
Sent off: Vecino
Referee: E. Cáceres