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Mexico dominate but lack finishing as they defeat Scotland in farewell game

Mexico missed numerous opportunities but were still able to beat Scotland by a score of 1-0.

The performance of the National Anthem at the start of Mexico’s farewell match against Scotland.
Rafael Hernandez

Mexico completely dominated Scotland in their farewell match at Estadio Azteca but could only win 1-0 to the dismay of the home fans. In front of a sold out crowd, Mexico took control of the match from the start but couldn’t finish the numerous chances they created, as the team once again fell prey to the the pressure of the fans. The positive is that Mexico didn’t pick up any injures and now leave with a win to Europe, where hopefully the team can gel away from the pressure from the media and the fans.

Mexico came to this game hoping for a victory in the send off game at the Estadio Azteca. Scotland were a great opportunity for that, with a young squad that had shown a lot of spirit in their match against Peru. Mexico were still expected to dominate and they did from the start. A Hugo Ayala header was missed, but a couple of minutes later, Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos combined to open the score. A cross fell to Dos Santos, who made the pass to Vela, who then made a quick move to return the pass to Gio. Dos Santos then placed a low angle shot that the Scottish keeper failed to stop.

With Mexico firmly in the lead, Miguel Layun had the best chance when he hit the post off a long range shot. Moments later, Hirving Lozano forced the keeper to make another big save. Mexico didn’t create much after but went into halftime as comfortable winners.

The second half was more of the same, with Mexico completely dominating, while Scotland held on. Hector Herrera forced the goalkeeper to make a save from a long range shot before Scotland had their only clear chance when Olvier McBurnie headed a ball into the post.

After that it kept being all Mexico, with Rafael Marquez heading from a corner to Herrera, who took too much time to shoot and got cleared. Then Raul Jimenez almost pounced on a Scottish mistake but his shot also went wide.

Carlos Vela wasted what was Mexico’s best chance when off a counter he decided to pause and make the pass instead of one timing his shot, giving the Scottish defense time to get back and clear what should have been a goal.

Lozano was the next player to hit the post, when he got past the Scottish defense and released a strong shot that bounced off the upright.

Mexico should have had a second goal when the goalkeeper stopped a header but sent the ball straight to Oribe Peralta, who scored but the goal was called back because of offside. Replay showed that it was a bad call and Peralta’s goal should have counted.

Later, Jesus “Tecatito” Corona made a great play that Jesus Gallardo shot wide. A play later, Corona went past the Scottish defense and lobbed the ball over the keeper, but it wasn’t powerful enough, giving a Scottish defender the chance to get to the line and clear it.

The lack of goals and numerous misses once again turned the Azteca crowd against the team and the final whistle went off to a chorus of boos. Mexico once again finished an Azteca farewell match by a win with 1 goal differential. The only time Mexico has won by a bigger margin was against Israel 3-0. Otherwise, all the wins have been by 1 goal (except for a tie in 1998 against Paraguay). The result showed that the team has been working well, for the most part, but that finishing is a big problem. While Mexico dominated both Wales and Scotland, all they had to show was 1 goal.

That said, the games in the World Cup will be very different, with teams not sitting back like these two. While that may be a positive for the offense, it will also mean that the defense should be tested a lot more, and that might bring some different and bigger worries. Still as a farewell match, it met expectations. Mexico will now leave for Europe to a whole new set of circumstances. Mexico will first go to Denmark and play the home team and then go to Russia to start their World Cup participation against World Champion Germany.