Ivan Rakitic’s second half penalty earned Croatia a deserved 1-0 victory over Mexico, in a game marred with what a appears to be a serious injury to center back Nestor Araujo.
Mexico settled quicker, but in truth, they deteriorated as the game went on. The key play of the game came in the 14th minute when Nestor Araujo suffered a serious injury after a mistimed tackle on Ante Rebic. First reports suggest Araujo suffered a knee sprain but is pending an MRI on his left knee.
When both teams reemerged, Croatia grabbed the ascendancy. El Tri looked unready and simply too affected by Araujo’s injury.
In the second half, the pattern remained the same, and in the 61st minute, Mexico showed their lack of concentration when Miguel Layun committed a silly penalty on Tin Jedvaj. Ivan Rakitic then took his time and scored from the penalty spot to give the Croatians the lead.
Things went from bad to worse when moments later Carlos Salcedo had to leave the game with a shoulder injury.
For the next 20 minutes, Croatia were hanging on comfortably and even had a chance to put the game out of sight when Mario Pasalic placed a shot inches wide of Guillermo Ochoa’s goal.
At the end, Croatia obtained a 1-0 victory in a night forget for El Tri. The next time Mexico take the field will be against Wales on May 28. Juan Carlos Osorio’s final list of 23 players for Russia 2018 is set to be released two weeks before on May 14.