Mexico got a hard fought 3-2 win over Australia to close out their friendly tour in Marbella, Spain. Mexico twice trailed, and although they were the better team overall and gave their best all around performance, it was still an inconsistent performance. Coach Jaime Lozano now closes out the tour, and he should have a meeting with Senior National Team head coach Gerardo Martino as to see which players will go to the Olympic Games and which players go to the Gold Cup before he starts the preparation for the Olympic Games.
Mexico came out with an starting lineup that looked like the best players from the first two matches, with Alexis Vega and Jose Juan Macias up front. Mexico had a great opportunity when Macias got the ball and got a one-on-one against Australia’s goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer. Maynard-Brewer got the ball off his feet but he had handled the ball outside the area, however the referee missed it in a completely terrible call. Mexico came close again when Macias got off a cross into off a corner kick and his shot got deflected into the path of Fernando Beltran, whose shot just went wide. The game started to get very chippy, and there were two yellow cards given to Australian players while Jesus Ricardo Angulo got a yellow card for Mexico. While Mexico was the better team, Macias was judged to have fouled a player and Australia got a penalty kick. It was a bad play from Macias and for Mexico, who was the better team at the time. Daniel Arzani stepped up to take the penalty, and with a right footed shot beat Mexico’s goalkeeper Luis Malagon for the 1-0 lead. Mexico had to come back and they did just that. Off of a free kick, Mexico took it quickly and surprised Australia, as Jesus Ricardo Angulo got the ball in the area and got off a left footed shot to bring the score to 1-1. The game continued to get chippy, and even had a shoving match between Erick Aguirre and Parnos Armenaka. The first half ended and although Mexico had been the better team and played their best first half of the friendly tour, they had created few chances.
The second half started with Mexico hoping to score and with Australia subbing in Jordan Holmes at goalkeeper. They started well with a shot from Kevin Alvarez that went wide. Then Caleb Watts got a shot from outside the area that Luis Malgagon should have had but he bungled the ball and it went under him for the 2-1 lead. It was a terrible mistake from Malagon, which couldn’t have come at a worse time as Mexico had an otherwise good start to the half. Mexico then tried pushing forward to try and score. They subbed out Jose Juan Macias, Alexis Vega, and Jesus Alberto Angulo for Eduardo Aguirre, Alejandro Zendejas, and Gilberto Sepulveda. Mexico finally got a chance when Kevin Alvarez made a pass to Jesus Ricardo Angulo, but the ball was blocked by a defender. It fell right into the path for Alvarez however, who shot past Holmes to draw the sides level at 2-2. Mexico had the deserved tie and continued to dominated possession. Australia came close again to scoring when once again Malagon made a mistake and dropped a cross into the path of an Australian player, but he clashed with Johan Vasquez and the ball was able to be cleared. Mexico came close again with a left footed shot from Angulo that went wide. Then off a cross into the area from Zendejas, Eduardo Aguirre made a diving header that got past Holmes for the 3-2 lead for Mexico. Mexico then subbed out Fernando Beltran for Marcel Ruiz. Australia almost got a good opportunity when Malagon came out badly, and was forced to send it out for a corner kick, as he was having an extremely poor game. Mexico had a good opportunity off a counter attack but Zendejas, who had been injured minutes before, looked too slow and ended up getting the shot from outside the area and it went well wide. Off of a corner kick, Mexico battled to clear a ball but luckily for them, the ref blew the whistle a minute into injury time to give Mexico the win.
Mexico’s tour in Marbella was overall very positive in results, however not as much in level of play. With Lozano using these matches to test players for a final call up instead of preparation for the team, it was always going to be tough to get great play. Mexico used a different starting 11 for the first two matches before getting a combination lineup for the final match. Overall Alejandro Zendejas and Fernando Beltran looked to be the players who took advantage of the series, while others like Jairo Torres, Marcel Ruiz, and Erik Lira looked to have ended their opportunity to make the Olympic squad. Mexico now returns to Mexico before Lozano has a meeting with Martino to decide which players will be part of the Olympic squad and not the Gold Cup team. There are also strong rumors that it will be the Olympic team who will play the Mexico vs Panama friendly set to be played on June 30th, but there has been nothing official announced yet.