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Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago, 2018 World Cup Qualifying: Man of the match

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Mexico traveled to Port of Spain in search of three points against Trinidad and Tobago in the Hex. 

Photo by Ashley Allen/LatinContent/Getty Images

Mexico defeated Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 at Port of Spain’s Hasely Crawford Stadium in the fourth game of Hexagonal qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia on Tuesday night.

The victory puts Mexico alone at the top of the table for the Hex with 10 points and that much closer to qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Juan Carlos Osorio’s side did not play its best, but it managed to break through in the 58th minute via a Diego Reyes header in a set piece.

Alfredo Talavera was not tested too often but was called into action early. The defensive interior proved to be solid as in the past with Néstor Araújo and Héctor Moreno. Not only did they make timely interventions, but they contributed to the offense with clean distribution. Moreno forced a save as he headed a Carlos Salcedo cross at goal in the eighth minute. Salcedo, however, had himself a mixed game. Early on, he was very menacing with some dangerous crosses, but he struggled by playing out of position later. Salcedo had to hustle back to cover a naked flank from the Soca Warrior’s offense.

The midfield’s play was not as effective or organized as it had been in past fixtures. Héctor Herrera had moments of admirable effort but was far too inconsistent to redeem himself in the offensive scheme. Former Porto teammate Diego Reyes looked a step too clumsy at times playing out of position and fouling, but was effective in situations when called upon: his header justified his appearance in the starting eleven. The rest of the lineup put in a commendable effort and were persistent until the final whistle.

Mexico will have time to prepare themselves at the top of the table until the Hex resumes in June against Honduras.

Man of the Match: Diego Reyes

While not the most stellar performance from the Espanyol man, Reyes’ goal marked the ultimate difference and reeled in three massive points away from home for Mexico. More importantly, it should serve as a major confidence boost for a man who has struggled to transfer his club form whenever he puts on his nation’s kit. His effectiveness on set pieces at least shows that he can translate one aspect of his game over when it matters. Hopefully, more will follow as his career rolls on.

Here are the ratings for the entire Tuesday night squad:

Alfredo Talavera: 7

Héctor Moreno: 7

Diego Reyes: 7

Néstor Araújo: 7

Miguel Layún: 6.5

Carlos Salcedo: 5

Héctor Herrera: 5

Luis Reyes: 7

Jesus Molina: 6

Raúl Jiménez: 5

Javier Hernández: 7

Substitutes:

Carlos Vela: 7

Orbelín Pineda: 6

Jesús Gallardo: 7