Mexico got a 93rd minute goal to get a 2-1 win over the Mediterranean team and start with a victory their 2023 Maurice Revello campaign. Mexico bounced back from a disorganized start to get the win and climb up to the top of Group B. Mexico was supposed to play against Togo, but they surprisingly pulled out of the tournament the week before it started and organizers had to invite a Mediterranean team composed of players from Mediterranean French Clubs in the second and third division to compete in place of Togo. Mexico will now face off against second placed Qatar, who tied Australia and then won the penalty shootout in their first match in Group B, to sit at 2 points.
The first half started as Mexico went against a team that looked a lot more physically imposing but had less time to gel. The first chance came up in the sixth minute when Ibrahim Mandefu got off a left footed shot that went just wide. After a longball, Thomas Carbonero had a good opportunity, but he wasted if by passing a ball that went wide instead of taking a shot. The Mediterranean team had more of the possession as Mexico looked to be more disjointed and having a rough go with the physicality of the European team. A longball almost turned to a chance, but Marcelo Flores couldn’t reach before Mediterranean goalkeeper Henrique Tavares got to the ball off his feet. A free kick from Angel Robles was then well saved by Tavares. Off of a corner kick, Luca Martinez Dupuy got off a wide open header but it went wide as Mexico missed a good opportunity. Mexico has a great opportunity when off a corner kick, the ball bounced in the area before falling to Pablo Galdames, but his shot from close range was deflected wide. Although Mexico had some good opportunities overall they were the most disorganized team in the first half.
The second half started with an injury to Oucasse Mendy. He hat to come out of the match, and Dylan Okyere was subbed in. Mexico then got off a long pass from Andres Montaño into the area where Pablo Monrroy got onto it and got off a left footed shot past Tavares for the goal that opened the scoring to give Mexico the 1-0 lead. Mexico then had a chance after getting a counter but Martinez Dupuy sent his shot well wide. Off a counter, Mexico’s goalkeeper Hector Holguin failed to reach off a pass to a wide open, Enzo Lasne, who easily tapped the ball into the net for the tying goal that placed the game at 1-1. Mexico looked very poor in defense and once again disorganized as the counter started from the other side of the field and Mexico failed to stop it. A shot from outside the area then forced Holguin to make a save. The Mediterranean team subbed out Jores Rahou and Yassine Benhattab for Dani Djourhi and Theo Trinker. Mexico meanwhile subbed out Marcelo Flores and Angel Robles for Heriberto Jurado and Jesus Hernandez. A free kick by the Mediterranean team was saved by Holguin. Mexico then subbed out Everardo Lopez and Andres Montaño for Uziel Garcia and Dagoberto Espinoza, while the Mediterranean team subbed out Cyril Khetir and Ibrahim Mandefu for Ibrahim Karamoko and Ugo Bertelli. Martinez Dupuy got off a bicycle kick that would go wide. After getting cramps, Luca Martinez Dupuy was subbed out for Jonathan Perez. In the 93rd minute, Galdames got a cross into the area that was just out of reach of Hernandez, but Heriberto Jurado got to the ball and take advantage of the confusion to get off a shot past Tavares and into the net for the goal that gave Mexico the 2-1 lead. There was no more time, and Mexico became the first team to get a victory in the tournament.
Mexico got off to a winning start, although it didn’t have the best performance. The Mediterranean team was a nice surprise, and while they were a very late addition to the tournament, they came out as the more organized team as they capitalized on their physical advantage. Mexico will need to improve collectively, as it relied too much on individual brilliance and lacked team cohesion. Mexico will need to improve against Qatar but it currently sits in first place as they became the first team to get a victory on the tournament as the first three matches started with 3 ties. Still while Mexico needs to improve, it was a great result for them in their quest to win the group and qualify to the Semifinals of the tournament.