Mexico undefeated after 2-1 win over Korea Republic
Mexico 2 (Vela 26’ pen, Hernandez 66’)
Korea Republic 1 (Son 90+3’)
By Tim Warren
Mexico has all but confirmed its qualification into the round-of-16 with a 2-1 victory over Korea Republic at Rostov Arena, despite a stoppage time screamer to Son Heung-min.
— FIFA World Cup ???? (@FIFAWorldCup) June 23, 2018
Coming off a first-up victory against Germany, El Tricolor again showed its attacking credentials in dominating large periods of the match.
The Mexicans threatened the South Korean goal right from the start but the breakthrough didn’t come until the 26th minute when Hyunsoo Jang blocked the ball with his right arm in sliding to block Andres Guardado’s cross.
The referee pointed to the spot and Carlos Vela sent the keeper the wrong way as he stroked the ball into the right-hand corner.
Mexico almost doubled its lead only moments after the restart when Javier Hernandez, after receiving a cut back at the top of the box from Miguel Layun, blasted a shot which was tipped over the bar by keeper Jo Hyeonwoo.
The Taeguk Warriors tried a physical approach to disrupt the Mexicans but earned the ire of referee Mazic Milorad, who penalised the South Koreans 24 times during the match and issued four yellow cards.
South Korea’s best chance of the first half came only minutes from the break when Son received a lofted through ball from defence which put him in sight of goal, however his shot was blocked by Hector Mereno and deflected for a corner.
Down 1-0 at half-time, it was evident that Korea had to change their tactics as Mexico had enjoyed 70 per cent of the possession in the first 45 minutes.
But it was Mexico that struck the first blow after half time, when Hernandez scored his 50th goal in his 104th game for his country.
Hirving Lozano ran most of the length of the field in a fast counter attack before laying off to ‘Chicharito’ who cut back inside Hyunsoo Jang and expertly finished past the keeper in the bottom-left corner.
Son Heung-min provided South Korea with a glimmer of hope in stoppage time, scoring one of the goals of the tournament to date, curling a left-foot shot from outside the penalty area into the top left corner past Mexican goalkeeper Ochoa.
The loss looks to spell the Taeguk Warriors’ early exit from the tournament as they will require a victory against Germany in the final group match by several goals and need Mexico to beat Sweden.
Mexico is on top of Group F and barring a heavy loss to Sweden will be through to the knockout stage.
Korea Republic: 41%
Shots (On Target)
Korea Republic: 17 (6)
Mexico: 13 (5)
Korea Republic: 7
Korea Republic: 24
Korea Republic: 4 (Y Kim 58’, Y Lee 63’, S Lee 72’, W Jung 80’)
Korea Republic (4-4-2): 23. W Jo (GK), 2. Y Lee, 12. W Kim (84’), 19. G Kim, 20. S Jang, 8. J Ju (64’), 16. Y Ki (C), 17. S Lee, 18. M Moon (77’), 7. M Son, 11. C Hwang
Substitutes: 1. S Kim, 21. J Kim, 3. S Jung, 4. B Oh, 5. Y Jun, 6. J Park, 9. S Kim, 10. S Lee (64’), 13. J Koo, 14. C Hong (84’), 15. W Jung (77’), 22. Y Go
Mexico (4-3-3): 13. Ochoa (GK), 3. Salcedo, 15. Moreno, 16. Herrera, 21. Alvarez, 7. Layun, 18, Guardado (C) (68’), 23. Gallardo, 11. Vela (77’), 14. Hernandez, 22. Lozano (71’)
SUBSTITUTES: 1. Corona, 12. Talavera, 2. Ayala, 4. Marquez (68’), 5. Gutierrez, 6. J. Dos Santos, 8. Fabian, 9. Jimenez, 10. G. Dos Santos (77’), 17. J. Corona (71’), 19. Peralta, 20. Aquino