Mexico started their campaign in the 2022 Maurice Revello Tournament with a 1-0 victory over Ghana. Mexico left it late, but were able to get the solitary goal that gave them the victory. Although Mexico was the better team in the first half and overall, they wilted under the sunny conditions unlike Ghana, who later in the match were the better side because of it. Mexico is tied in first place along with Venezuela, their next rival, who also won on Monday by a 1-0 score over Indonesia.
The first half started with Mexico coming out with a strong lineup including players like Santiago Muñoz, Eugenio Pizzuto, and Santiago Naveda in the starting eleven. After a harsh foul it looked like Angel Zapata was injured and needed medical attention, although he remained in the game. Ghana was a very rough team that kept fouling Mexican players, including a terrible foul by Zubairu Ibrahim that already had a yellow card, but the referee failed to give him the second yellow. Early in the half the ball fell in the area for Pizzuto, but he took too long for the shot and also got called for a possible handball. Both teams traded possession, and although Mexico looked more dangerous when they had the ball, they weren’t creating great opportunities. Naveda got a shot from outside the area, but it was easily handled by Ghana’s goalkeeper Vincent Anane. Mexico had the best chance of the match when Muñoz got a header off a corner kick that just went past Diego Medina, who would have had an open net had he been able to get his head onto the ball. Ghana had to sub out injured Collins Boah for Alex Sarfo. The halftime whistle blew, and the game remained scoreless.
The second half started with both teams coming out with the same players that ended the first, noting that Ghana had made a substitution minutes before the halftime whistle. Unfortunately for Mexico, a minute into the second half Santiago Naveda had to come out because of injury. Jorge Ruvalcaba took his place. Mexico had a good chance as Medina got into the area, but his pass was cleared of of Zapata’s leg. Mexico had an even better chance when Medina got into the area, but instead of shooting he decided to pass and a Ghanaian defender cleared the ball. Ghana subbed out Yaw Baafi and Mohammed Yahaya for Samari Salifu and Isaac Mensah. Zapata then got a good shot that was saved by Anane, and then the rebound fell to Ruvalcaba but his shot went over the bar. Santiago Muñoz looked to have cramps and also needed to be subbed out for Teun Wilke. Mexico had been the better team by far in the second half, but slowly Ghana started to gain more possession and be more dangerous with their counters. After a rebound, the ball fell to Ibrahim, who got a shot from the area but Mexico’s goalkeeper Hector Holguin made a good save. Emmanuel Annor then got into the area, and his shot was also stopped by Holguin. For the first time in the match, Ghana had gained the upper hand. Off of a corner kick, Ramon Juarez rose to get a header, but it went wide. Mexico subbed out Diego Medina and Angel Zapata for Andres Montaño and Angel Robles. Ghana then came close again when Salifu got off a shot that Holguin saved. Then off a corner kick, Anane went to get the ball but dropped it after clashing with a player. This allowed Robles to get to the ball, and his left footed shot went past Anane, but was blocked by a Ghanaian defender. Later, a longball into the area was brilliantly lowered into the path of Victor Guzman, who got off a great left footed shot past Anane for the 1-0 lead. The central defender shocked everybody by getting the best shot of the match and giving Mexico the lead, just as time was running out. Ghana subbed out Abdul Abdullah and Zubairu Ibrahim for Isaac Pappoe and Mustapha Yakubu. Ghana continued to try to get the tying goal, but Mexico held up well and got the victory.
While it wasn’t the best performance, Mexico got a great start against a tough team in Ghana. Mexico looked the better side, but didn’t gel as expected and suffered because of the hard fouls from their opponents. The heat also seemed to hurt Mexico more than Ghana in the second half, and Mexico was visibly struggling but they got the goal at the right time. Mexico will now play against Venezuela, in a match that will be key if Mexico plans to make it to the semifinals. Only the group winners are assured a place in the next stage along with the second place team with the most points out of the three groups.