Mexico got a 1-1 tie against Saudi Arabia in a game where once again they failed to live up to expectations, leaving with the sour taste of getting tied in injury time. Mexico had once again played a very poor first half and improved in the second half, but this time were not able to get the result. Mexico had a different starting lineup than they did in their last outing, as they continue to use friendlies to test players less than 45 days away from the Olympic tournament where Mexico is in a very tough group. Mexico will close out their tour against Australia on Saturday.
The first half started with Mexico, as expected, coming in with a totally different starting lineup than in the match against Romania. The main surprise was that all the changes still didn’t mean that Santiago Gimenez would play. Saudi Arabia had a great opportunity when Alan Mozo gave the ball straight to a Saudi Arabian player, causing a quick counter that had Mexico’s goalkeeper Sebastian Jurado making a save on a one-on-one. The play was however called off for offside, saving Mexico. Saudi Arabia then got another shot that forced Jurado to save it, as Saudi were proving to be dangerous on counter attacks. Mexico had a good opportunity when a cross into the area by Mozo had to be cleared dangerously by the Saudi Arabian defense. Later Eduardo Aguirre came within inches of blocking a shot from the Saudi Arabian goalkeeper. Mexico finally got a shot off after a great combination play that was finished by Alejandro Zendejas, but his chance was easily saved. Mexico kept more of the possession, but they weren’t creating much and the team looked like what it was: a team of players that had never played together with this lineup. Alejandro Mayorga then got to outside the area and got off a shot that just went wide. Saudi Arabia had a great opportunity when a Saad Al- Salouli got into the area and got off a shot in front that Jurado made a great save on, but the rebound fell to a wide open Yousef Al-Harbi who got a header. Luckily for Mexico, it went wide as he was wide open with an empty net. The halftime whistle blew, and once again Mexico had played a lackluster first half and were hoping to turn things around like last time.
The second half started and Mexico subbed out Erik Lira, Erick Sanchez, and Victor Guzman for Fernando Beltran, Joaquin Esquivel, and Jesus Alberto Angulo. Jesus Ricardo Angulo got a shot off in the area that forced the Saudi keeper to make a good save, and he almost let the rebound fall to a Mexican player but a Saudi defender was able to clear it. Angulo got a ball in the area and then got off a shot, forcing the Saudi keeper to make a great save. Mexico then had their first great play and made it count. Mozo got past his defender and got off a cross into the area, finding Alejandro Zendejas. Zendejas headed the ball past the Saudi Arabian keeper for the 1-0 lead. Saudi Arabia almost responded immediately with a cross into the area that was cleared by a Mexican defender for a corner, almost getting into an own goal. Mexico then subbed out Jesus Ricardo Angulo and Eduardo Aguirre for Jairo Torres and Alexis Vega. Mexico started to dominate the match, and Mexico got another good opportunity when a cross into the area found a wide open Torres, but he headed it wide. Things started getting chippy, and Alan Cervantes threw an elbow that could have been a red card for a harsher referee. Mexico then made their final move by subbing out Alejandro Zendejas for Jose Juan Macias. Saudi Arabia then got the ball in the area and Jurado dropped the Saudi player as he tried to clear the ball, and the referee gave a penalty kick to Saudi Arabia. Ahmed Ayman hit a left footed shot and converted the chance from the spot to tie the game 1-1. The game ended, and Mexico would now not have the result to save them from criticism for another underwhelming performance.
Mexico stumbled on their second match of their friendly tour in Marbella. They had a very similar pattern to their first match, in which they played a lousy first half and improved considerably in the second. The problem was that even when they improved, they failed to do so in the score and thus opened themselves to a potential goal on an isolated play, which is exactly what happened. Although replays showed it wasn’t clear, the ref gave it and Mexico ended up with the bad taste of a negative result, especially after having the lead in the 90th minute. Mexico will now play against Australia in a match where Lozano might finally get some sort of starting lineup, probably from the best players from both matches in the final test of this friendly tour.