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Mexico battle back to draw Algeria at the end of the European Tour

Mexico and Algeria split the points after battling to a 2-2 draw.

Diego Lainez scored his first goal with the Senior National Team.
via @miseleccionmx

Mexico came back to end their tour with a 2-2 tie against Algeria in a very even match. Mexico took the lead and then was tied almost immediately at the end of the first half. Later Algeria went down to 10 players after a red card and yet continued to complicate things for Mexico, including taking the lead again. Mexico however battled until they got the tie and even came close in the final minutes to getting the win. Still the tie was a fair result with both teams battling hard and showing an overall good performance. Mexico will now return to Europe during the November dates when they return to the European continent and play against South Korea and Japan.

The first half started with Mexico coming with a very similar starting lineup to the one that played against the Netherlands. Goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera got injured in practice on Monday so Rodolfo Cota started. Other moves were Nestor Araujo starting instead of Cesar Montes, Jonathan Dos Santos coming in instead of Andres Guardado, Jorge Sanchez taking Luis Rodriguez’s place, and Luis Romo starting instead of Edson Alvarez. The first minutes had a very even match, with Algeria high pressing Mexico and causing struggles. Algeria was superior in the first minutes, and Ramy Bensebaini had a great cross that Baghdad Bounedjah couldn’t get his head on, missing the first great chance of the game. After a couple of even minutes, Mexico had their first shot when Raul Jimenez got a shot from outside the area that went just wide. The minutes went as Mexico kept getting pressured and struggling somewhat with it. Dos Santos and Hector Herrera had some tough moments in the midfield, as Algeria had a good game plan to face Mexico and was the better side. Later Algeria had a great chance but Sofiane Feghouli’s pass was brilliantly cleared by Araujo. The game kept being even, with both teams trading possession. Then in a great combination play, Jesus Corona made a great pass to Jimenez, who then made a great pass back to Corona, who got to the ball in the area and lobbed it over Algeria’s goalkeeper, Rais M’Bolhi for the 1-0 lead. It was a great play from Mexico’s two best players, and Corona got his goal to cap a great Euro tour for the Porto player. Unfortunately for Mexico, the lead wouldn’t last a minute. Mexico didn’t pay attention and Feghouli found Ismael Bennacer, who got a great left footed shot from outside the area, that went into the net past Cota, who didn’t even dive for it, to get the 1-1 tie. The halftime whistle blew and the tie was fair with Algeria being slightly better than Mexico.

The second half started and Algeria didn’t waste any time going on the offensive. First Riyad Mahrez made a great play and got off a shot that Cota blocked into a corner kick. Then Hector Herrera lost a ball, which allowed Yacine Brahimi to get to the ball, make a run, and get a shot off that hit the post. In the play, Hector Moreno got injured and had to be subbed out for Gilberto Sepulveda. After those early minutes of dominance, Mexico started to get back into the game. Then in a key play, Jimenez got fouled by Adlene Guedioura, who got his second yellow card and thus a red, leaving Algeria with 10 players. Things got tense when a clash between Araujo and Bensebaini had both players get in each other faces. The ref gave them each a yellow card. Algeria started to sit back and counter, and twice having good runs that scared Mexico although they answered back with an Herrera run that finished with an Algerian defender clearing the ball before it got to a wide open Jimenez. Mexico subbed out Dos Santos and Pizarro (both of whom had poor performances) for Andres Guarado and Diego Lainez. Herrera stole a ball and found Corona, who made a great pass to Jimenez. Incredibly Jimenez tried to control the ball instead of shooting, wasting a great opportunity as it gave time to the Algeria defense to block his shot. Minutes later a bad mistake from Cota and Jorge Sanchez ended with Sanchez giving the ball away to Algeria, who then found Mahrez in the area. Mahrez easily got his left footed shot past Sepulveda and Cota for the 2-1 lead. It was a bad mistake from Sanchez but it was also one from Cota, who all game long had trouble with his passes. Mexico hadn’t looked good with the player advantage, but the goal did sort of wake them up as Corona started to make better decisions and Mexico clearly took control of the possession for the first time in the match.

Mexico made another move by subbing out Luis Romo for Alan Pulido, as they seemed poised to go all in on the offense. Algeria countered by subbing out Bounedjah for ex-Tigres Andy Delort. Mexico had a great chance when Lainez got to a ball and made a good pass to Jimenez, who once again tried to control instead of one-time shooting it, and the ball got cleared off his feet. Algeria came close when Andres Guardado almost deflected a ball into his net but it went out. Mexico kept having most of the possession and pushing Algeria into their area but Algeria was handling it well. Then Raul Jimenez got a ball and made a great pass to Diego Lainez. Lainez got the ball in the area and made a great low shot that went past a sprinting M’Bohli, as it hit the post and went in for the 2-2. Mexico had finally concluded a play after all their possession and they started to take advantage of the impact the goal had with Algeria. Mexico made a great play with Guardado finding Herrera, who got a left footed shot from outside the area that went past M’Bohli and hit the post, except this time the ball didn’t go in. Later a cross from Jesus Gallardo found Pulido, but his header went wide. In the final minute, Jimenez made a great back heeled pass that found Jorge Sanchez, who got a shot off the also hit the post. The ref blew the whistle and Mexico and Algeria finished with a tie.

While Mexico didn’t have as good a game or result as they did against the Netherlands, it still was a positive performance for Mexico. Algeria was a tougher side because although they don’t have as talented a squad, they had this game as their top priority and played that way. Algeria saved most of their players for the game instead of their friendly Saturday against Nigeria. They had a plan and pressured Mexico throughout and yet Mexico was able to get the result and showed a good level at times. Still several players underperformed, and Martino must correct the mistakes that allowed Algeria to get a lead even when they were down a player. Still overall this was a very successful in what probably has been the best level of play for Mexico under Martino. Mexico will now have two more friendlies in Austria when they face South Korea and Japan in November, where they will probably have a lot of players from this squad as they finish up their limited action of 2020.