Mexico missed the opportunity to make it a perfect start to the Hexagonal as they had to labor to a goalless draw with Panama on Tuesday night in a game of few chances.
Guillermo Ochoa produced a pair of vital saves to extend Mexico’s unbeaten run in World Cup qualifying to eight matches.
As ever in games against Panama, a flurry of tackles dominated the opening minutes of the match, but the home-side always looked more likely to score, with Alberto Quintero and Gabriel Gomez both testing Ochoa in the first half.
Juan Carlos Osorio made the game’s first change after 45 minutes, bringing on Jesus Duenas in place of the carded Diego Reyes. Hirving Lozano and Hector Herrera replaced Giovani dos Santos and Rafael Marquez respectively but not even that could help spark Mexico’s attack.
Panama substitute Luis Tejada had a late chance when he saw a bicycle kick saved by Guillermo Ochoa. Ochoa’s status as the man of the match, though, indicated Mexico’s frustrations on the other end of the field as Mexico had to eventually settle for a point in a lackluster match at the Rommel Fernandez.
The point leaves El Tri second in the Hexagonal, two points behind leaders Costa Rica who thrashed the United States 4-0 on the night. Next, Mexico resume World Cup qualifying on March 24 when they host Los Ticos at the Estadio Azteca.