Mexico defeated Colombia by a 2-0 score in a tough matchup in the first of two U23 friendlies to be played this September. Mexico faced a Colombian side that was slightly the better team overall, the home side took advantage of their few chances to get the victory on Saturday night in Tlaxcala. The match is the first of two friendlies between the sides. Both teams will travel back to Mexico City, where they will play on Tuesday in the Centro de Alto Rendimiento (CAR).
The first half started with the Mexican U23 team coming up with their best possible starting 11. Colombia came out with a solid squad including two Liga MX based players in Marino Hinestroza and Jose Luis Caicedo. Unfortunately, there was a solid rain before and at the start of the match that started to hamper the field. Then a cross into the area was just out of reach of Roberto de la Rosa. A counter attack from Colombia ended with a left footed shot that went right to the arms of Mexico’s goalkeeper Fernando Tapia. Off of a free kick, Caicedo got a wide open header and it went just wide. After a longball caught Colombia by surprise, Jairo Torres got to the it and got off a right footed cross that went past Colombia’s goalkeeper Juan Castillo. Roberto de la Rosa was able to take advantage and got a low shot into the now empty net to score the goal that gave Mexico the 1-0 lead. It was Mexico’s first opportunity of the match, and they took advantage after Colombia had been the slightly better team. Off of a corner kick, Colombia wasn’t able to clear the ball and it fell to Bryan Gonzalez, who chested the ball and hit the post. The ball would then fell to De la Rosa, who back heeled/scorpion kicked the ball right to Bryan Gonzalez, who with his left foot shot the ball into the net to score and give Mexico the 2-0 lead. Mexico had taken advantage of a mistake by Colombia to get a two goal lead that they would take into halftime.
The second half started with Colombia subbing out Kenner Valencia and Jersson Gonzalez for Juan Alegria and Yani Quintero. A shot from outside the area from Colombia was well saved by Tapia. Colombia then wasted a great chance off a counter attack when a cross into the area almost found a wide open Hinestroza, but he slipped trying to get to it in what could have been a great chance. After getting stepped on, Andres Montaño needed medical attention. Because of the injury, Montaño had to be subbed out along with Rodrigo Huescas (who was healthy) for Fidel Ambriz and Pablo Monrroy. A good run from Hinestroza saw him get off a shot that went wide. Colombia kept pressuring Mexico as they looked for a goal to get back into the match. Hinestroza once again got a shot that was deflected wide. With Colombia controlling possession, Mexico decided to make changes. Mexico subbed out Raymundo Fulgencio, Robero de la Rosa, and Jairo Torres for Diego Medina, Ettson Ayon, and Rodrigo Lopez. Colombia meanwhile subbed out Jose Garcia, Daniel Ruiz, and David Contreras for Joider Micolta, Alejandro Garcia, and Samuel Asprilla. Micolta got off a left footed shot that went wide. Mexico then subbed out Bryan Gonzalez for Jose Brigido, while Colombia subbed out Johan Rojas and Marino Hinestroza for Edgard Camargo and Edgar Moreno. Off of a free kick, a good cross into the area was wasted by Mexico, as no player made a good run towards it. Later a good counter attack had Ayon get into the area but he stumbled to it and lost the ball. After a harsh foul by Mexico, Victor Guzman scuffled with a Colombian player, which grew bigger and resulted in a couple of yellow cards to both sides. After Mexico failed to clear the ball, Garcia got off a shot that went just wide. It would be the last chance of the match, and Mexico held out to get the victory.
Mexico at times struggled and overall Colombia was the better side, but they were able to get the victory. Although Colombia controlled the possession, the fact of the matter was that for all their dominance, Mexico’s goalkeeper Fernando Tapia didn’t have to make any big saves. Mexico took advantage of the few chances they had, and got the victory in a very even match that was hampered by the bad field conditions because of the constant rain throughout the match. Mexico and Colombia will now face their second match at CAR, in a match that might be more experimental since it’s outside of the public view, unlike the match in Tlaxcala.