Mexico played New Zealand today in the first left of a playoff with a World Cup berth on the line. Mexico has underperformed and been a disappointment, they almost missed this opportunity but two late goals from the U.S. Men’s National Team kept their hopes alive.
Mexico’s manager Miguel Herrera made a brave decision to leave European players off the roster. That means no Javier Hernandez from Manchester United. He elected to go with an all domestic line up instead.
Early in the game, New Zealand’s Chris Wood got a yellow card for jumping in the air and leading with his elbow into an opponents head. He brought a yellow into the game and will miss the second leg in New Zealand.
Mexico had some chances early on, but one was saved, one hit the cross-bar and another show would’ve been disallowed for offsides if it wasn’t saved. Eventually Mexico broke through with a goal in the 31st minute. A New Zealand defender headed the ball away but it landed at the feet of Paul Aguilar who buried the ball in the back of the net.
In the 36th minute a goal from Mexico was disallowed because of an offsides call. Oribe Peralta Morones was the player offsides. Mexico was playing incredibly strong offensively and peppered the goalie with shots. The keeper stood on his head to keep numerous shots out. One of the saves sent the ball out-of-bounds giving Mexico a corner.
On the following set piece Raúl Jiménez scored on a header. The ball was headed by Carlos Peña first and bounced off the ground before Jiménez headed it in to give Mexico a 2-0 leads.
Peralta got his own goal early in the second half. Miguel Layún sent in a low pass from the far side of the pitch towards an open space about 7 yards out and dead center in front of the goal. Peralta buried it to give Mexico a commanding 3-0 lead.
Peralta added a second, and Mexico’s fourth in the 80th minute. Layún sent a long cross in and Perlata headed it in. Rafa Márquez added a fifth goal with a header from the center of the box. Jesús Escoboza assisted with the cross
New Zealand added their own goal finally in the 84th minute from Chris James. He scored with a left footed shot from the center of the box to the bottom left corner.
The second leg will be played in New Zealand next Wednesday. This two leg playoff works on aggregate score, so New Zealand has some work to do to win.
Paul Aguilar’s goal:
Raúl Jiménez’s goal:
Oribe Peralta Morones’ goal:
Oribe Peralta Morones’ celebration: