Mexico beats Saudi Arabia however fails to advance at World Cup

For 2½ video games Mexico did nothing in Qatar — as in no objectives, no wins and no probability to advance to the Spherical of 16, one thing it had completed in each World Cup it has performed in since 1978.

Then within the second half of Wednesday’s group-play finale, El Tri lastly got here alive, with Henry Martín and Luis Chávez scoring objectives six minutes aside in a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia that very almost earned it a spot within the subsequent spherical.

As a substitute, it was despatched dwelling on a tiebreaker.

The distinction was Salem Aldawsari’s objective for Saudi Arabia in second-half stoppage time. Though Mexico and Poland tied for second within the group standings with 4 factors, Poland will go on due to its one-score edge in objective differential.

That appeared an unlikely consequence initially of the day. Mexico was on the backside of the group standings with only a level by two video games, leaving it with lengthy odds of staving off elimination. However the win, plus the 2 objectives, pulled Mexico even with Poland — a 2-0 loser to Argentina — within the desk and on objective differential heading into stoppage time.
The second tiebreaker is honest play and Mexico, with six yellow playing cards in its first two video games, had no probability of successful that, leaving it needing a objective rating once more to go Poland — which is when Aldawsari scored.

Moments earlier Mexico thought it had gotten a objective from Uriel Antuna within the 87th minute, solely to have it denied by an offside name.

Mexico’s Uriel Antuna reacts after being known as offside on a objective try late within the match towards Saudi Arabia on Nov. 30 in Lusail, Qatar.

(Julio Cortez / Related Press)

Mexico’s first harmful probability in a wide-open first half got here within the third minute when a pleasant go from Hirving Lozano despatched Alexis Vega in alone on Saudi keeper Mohammed Alowais. However Alowais alertly dashed off his line to interrupt the play up deep within the field.

Mexico was simply getting began. Its first-half assault was relentless and Alowais, who made three saves and bought a number of assist from his protection, spent a lot of the primary 45 minutes merely hanging on for pricey life with El Tri possessing the ball 68% of the time and outshooting the Saudis, 11-4.

Within the eighth minute Alowais discovered Martín on his doorstep, however the Mexican striker arrived too late to get on the tip of Jesús Gallardo’s cross, which the keeper punched away. Halfway by the half Orbelín Pineda ran on to a different good go from Lozano on the prime of the field, however two Saudi defenders, sliding in from both facet, took the facility out of Pineda’s shot.

Mexico, helped by some horrible Saudi ballhandling, saved the stress early within the second half and was lastly rewarded when Martín’s objective off a nook within the 48th minute, snapping a 432-minute goalless drought in World Cup play courting to the second match of group play in 2018.

Chávez began the play by sending the nook to the close to put up for César Montes, who headed it into the middle of the field the place Martín nudged it dwelling along with his left boot.

Mexico’s first objective got here on its 29th shot on this World Cup. It wanted only one shot to get one other with Chávez bending a free kick slightly below the crossbar and into the facet netting six minutes later. It saved up that stress to the ultimate whistle, taking 15 pictures and placing seven of them on objective within the half.

Mexico supporters react after the World Cup group C soccer match against Saudi Arabia.

Mexico supporters react after the World Cup group C soccer match towards Saudi Arabia. El Tri gained the match however didn’t advance to the knockout spherical.

(Moises Castillo / Related Press)

Maybe the chance Mexico will most remorse lacking got here within the 78th minute when Lozano, with numbers in Mexico’s favor, reduce inside from the left solely to see his cross tipped away. Second-half substitute “Charly” Rodríguez was then taken down earlier than he may get to the free ball.

Eight minutes later Antuna rounded the keeper and on a breakaway put the ball within the web, solely to see the offside flag go up, the second obvious rating Mexico misplaced on a slim offside name.