Mexico couldn’t have started their 2021 Gold Cup any worse after a scoreless tie against Trinidad and Tobago in a game where Hirving Lozano suffered a terrible injury which changed the game. Mexico couldn’t break a bunkering team in a disastrous performance that ended with fans constantly doing the chant after a terrible job from referee Ricardo Montero. Mexico will now play against Guatemala, which replaces Curazao after they couldn’t make it to the tournament because of a COVID 19 team breakout.
The 1st half started with Mexico coming out with their trident of Hirving Lozano, Rogelio Funes Mori and Jesus Corona. The lineup also had the return of Nestor Araujo after being out because of injury against Nigeria. Almost two minutes in, there was controversy when Corona fell in the area because of a probable foul but the ref didn’t call it. Mexico had a good opportunity when a cross into the area found Funes Mori, who’s header forced Trinidad’s goalkeeper Marvin Phillip to make a great save. Alarms rose out when after Hirving Lozano was pushed having a terrible clash with Phillip’s leg that looked to knock the player out. It was a terrible injury which gave Mexico a repeat of the injury to Raul Jimenez as Lozano brought everything to a standstill. The potential of an injury to Mexico was a terrible thing and once again a dark chapter in another game with Trinidad and Tobago. Efrain Alvarez was subbed in for Lozano as the game changed it’s tune completely. Later it looked like Corona got brought down but it wasn’t called as referee Ricardo Montero of Costa Rica continued doing an awful job. Mexico continued to dominate possession as Trinidad and Tobago kept back defending by bunkering. After a great combination play, Corona went into the area and his shot bounced off Phillip and into him before a Trinidad player cleared the ball from the line. Mexico continued to dominate against a Trinidad side that was completely in their defensive side as Mexico tried to fight harsh tackles as well as the momentum hit that was Lozano’s injury. Mexico continued to enter the area but Trinidad kept clearing ball after ball. Corona once again got a ball in the area but his shot went just wide. Later Erick Gutierrez got a shot from outside the area that went just wide. Later Luis Rodriguez got a ball alone in the area but he wasted it by deciding to shoot instead of looking for a player in the area. The ref blew the whistle in a game where Mexico had everything against them on the field, from a terrible injury that changed the climate to an incompetent referee.
The 2nd half started with Trinidad and Tobago making three changes while Mexico subbed out Erick Gutierrez for Orbelin Pineda. Pineda would have a great opportunity when he got a great backheel pass from Funes Mori but his shot went straight into the arms of Phillip. Mexico would then sub out Carlos Salcedo for Jonathan Dos Santos. Trinidad and Tobago had their first opportunity when off a free kick, a cross into the area almost found Alvin Jones but it ended in a corner kick. Mexico continued to dominate the match as Trinidad continued to sit back. Later, a head clash between a Trinidad player and Corona had both players needing medical assistance. Both remained in the game. Funes Mori would later get the ball in the area but his shot was saved by Phillip. Mexico would waste another chance after Corona got a ball in the area and his shot was deflected by a Trinidad player in another play where Mexico asked for a penalty and which looked like a dubious call. Mexico would sub out Osvaldo Rodriguez for Jesus Gallardo in another offensive substitution. Mexico had another chance where a ball in the area fell to Pineda, whose shot went wide. Later Corona would have a great shot from outside the area that Phillip would make a great save to give a corner kick. Mexico fans once again made the chant which caused the game to be stopped and killed momentum for Mexico. Later it looked like Mexico had scored but the goal was called back due to an offside. In the replay, it didn’t appear to be an offside but it was same as expected from a terrible referee. There was another chant which forced the match to be stopped again. Off the corner kick, Mexico would get a header that would make Phillip make another great save. Mexico tried but couldn’t do in a game marred by the incident with Lozano and helped by poor refereeing in a result that conditions things for Mexico and even the tournament itself.
Coach Gerardo Martino is definitely at his lowest point as a Mexico coach and part of it could be his own doing. By going to this tournament with their A team, in part because of obligation and in part because Mexico lost the CONCACAF Nations League final, he gambled on a win and now with a possible injury to another of his key players and with a bad result, he will bring more criticism to the team. Worse yet is the possibility of even more sanctions to the fans after such a disastrous result. Mexico will now need to improve a lot and get positive results although a lot of it will depend on what happens with the team after Lozano’s injury is known. It’s tough to get a read on a game where such an injury takes place and where the ref just shows how incompetent he is. Worse yet is that the fans’ behavior only made things worse for Mexico on and off the field. On the field it froze the momentum and opened the team for a new sanction while off the field besides the possibility of a sanction, coaches and managers will have a hard time pressuring CONCACAF to improve without looking like they are making excuses for the fans. It was a disastrous start for Mexico in every way possible.