Mexico returned to their winning ways by defeating Ghana by a 2-0 score. Coach Jaime Lozano got his first win over a non-CONCACAF side after defeating the CAF side in what was also his first win as the official coach of the national team, not as an interim manager. It was a very tough match, with Ghana being a very tough and defensive-minded team, but Mexico was able to overcome them and get the victory. Mexico will now play what looks to be their biggest opponent in 2023 as they face Germany in the last friendly before going back to Nations League action in November.
The first half started with the surprise that Raul Jimenez would get the starting nod over Santiago Gimenez as Mexico came with a lot of starters, even with the match against Germany being considered the more important match. Gerardo Arteaga gifted the ball to Ghana early, which allowed Joseph Paintsil to get the ball in the area before Edson Alvarez cleared the ball off him. A shot by Jimenez was then blocked by a Ghanaian defender and although Jimenez asked for a handball, nothing was given. A longball into the area found Paintsil but when he got into the area, he made a pass to nobody which allowed Mexico to get the ball back. The game was very even, with Mexico and Ghana being very defensive and countering the each other. After a Mexico got a counter, Hirving Lozano was brought down by Joseph Aidoo, who got a yellow card and also looked to have injured himself on the play. Aidoo had to leave the match and was subbed out for Alidu Saidu. After a good attack, Jimenez hit a cross after doing a “rabona”, and the ball was cleared into the path of Alvarez, who got off a good right footed shot from outside the area that went wide. After Lozano got the ball in the area, his pass went long, but Jimenez did a great job to win the ball back. Incredibly however, his pass to Orbelin Pineda wasn’t connected on the first touch and Pineda’s shot was blocked, wasting a great chance because he took too long to shoot. The first half ended, and it was a very even match with Mexico maybe having a slightly better performance.
The second half started with Ghana subbing out Thomas Partey for Salis Samed. A longball from Luis Chavez found Pineda, but he tried to lower the ball instead of shooting a volley and lost it altogether. Mexico went more on the offensive, but were well handled by Ghana. Mexico then had a good chance when Erick Sanchez got the ball and went into the area, getting a right footed shot that forced Ghana’s goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi to make a good save. The play ended with a free kick which Chavez took quickly, surprising Ghana’s defense and finding a wide open Hirving Lozano. “Chucky” then took a right footed shot that surprised Ati-Zigi, and the ball went past him and into the net to give Mexico the 1-0 lead. The surprise of the attack and Lozano’s shot totally took Ati-Zigi by surprise, and he made a bad mistake on the shot that allowed Mexico to take the lead. Mexico then subbed out Hirving Lozano and Orbelin Pineda for Cesar Huerta and Uriel Antuna. A longball into the area found Antuna, whose right footed shot went just wide. Ghana subbed out Joseph Paintsil and Antoine Semenyo for Ernest Nuamah and Iñaki Williams. After making a good move, Mohammed Kudus got the space to get off a left footed shot from outside the area but it went wide. Ghana subbed out Kingsley Schindler for Jordan Ayew. Ghana then lost the ball, allowing Mexico a great counter on which Huerta got off a great pass into the area and into the path of Uriel Antuna. Antuna got off a left footed shot past Ati-Zigi and into the net to increase Mexico’s lead to a 2-0 score. It was a great play from Mexico, as the two players did well to pounce on Ghana’s mistake to take the deserved lead. Mexico subbed out Edson Alvarez and Raul Jimenez for Luis Romo and Santiago Gimenez. With the two goal lead, Mexico sat back as they tried to contain a Ghana side that was going all out offensively for the first time in the match. Mexico then subbed out Erick Sanchez for Sebastian Cordova. After a good throw in by Huerta, Cordova got the ball in the area and got off a left footed shot that forced a great save by Ati-Zigi. Mexico was able to hold on and get the win, their first since winning the 2023 Gold Cup Final.
It wasn’t the most visually appealing win, but Mexico got a great result as they defeated a tough Ghana by a 2-0 score. After two draws against AFC sides in September (2-2 against Australia and 3-3 against Uzbekistan), Mexico got a victory over a great African side. Coach Jaime Lozano gets his first victory as coach of the Senior National team over a non-CONCACAF side, but he should have his toughest match as a coach when Mexico faces Germany in Philadelphia. While Germany had been struggling to the point that they fired Coach Hansi Flick when they lost badly against Japan by a 4-1 score, new coach Julian Nagelsmann made his debut by crushing the United States with a 3-1 win early that Saturday. The United States had their best team and yet were dominated. Although Germany might make changes for the Mexico match, the win makes them heavy favorites. Lozano and Mexico will have to be on point on Tuesday as they close out their matches before returning to the Nations League, where they will have the key Quarterfinal that gives the ticket to the 2024 Copa America.