Mexico defeated Fiji 5-1 in the second match of Group C, but the scoreline belies the effort El Tri had to put into the match. The Fijians took the lead and held it for nearly 40 minutes before a póker by Erick Gutiérrez turned things around for the Mexican U-23s.
Fiji gave Mexico’s defense a scare early on with a headed chance, and then in the 10th minute captain Roy Krishna gave them the lead. Krishna beat his defender and goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera to a lofted ball at the edge of the box and he headed it into the empty net to give Fiji the shock 1-0 lead and their first goal of this Olympic tournament.
Mexico, stunned by the goal, failed to create many dangerous chances at the other end as Fiji’s defense stood firm. A 32nd minute strike by Hirving Lozano, which was hit powerfully but straight at keeper Simione Tamanisau, was the only opportunity of note for El Tri.
Fiji took the 1-0 lead into halftime, but just minutes into the second half Mexico scored a controversial equalizer. Carlos Cisneros sent in a cross that Erick Gutiérrez sent into the back of the net, but the ball had appeared to cross the endline before Cisneros sent it into the box. With no call made by the assistant referee, the goal stood.
In the 55th minute, the El Tri U-23s took the lead for the first time when Oribe Peralta found Gutiérrez, whose left-footed shot made it 2-1.
Three minutes after that, Gutiérrez finished off his hat-trick to make it 3-1; and then Carlos Salcedo finished off a corner kick to make it 4-1.
Gutiérrez continued his impressive half with a fourth goal in the 71st minute when he chipped Tamanisau to give Mexico the unassailable 5-1 lead.
With the 5-1 win, Mexico reaches four points while Fiji remains on zero. Mexico moves into first place in the group with the win, pending the result of Germany vs South Korea later today.
Fiji: Simione Tamanisau, Jale Dreola, Alvin Singh, Praneel Naidu, Anish Khem, Ratu Nakalevu (Ratu Waranaivalu 61′), Nickel Chand, Antonio Tuivuna (Filipe Baravilala 81′), Roy Krishna, Iosefo Verovou, Setareki Hughes (Samnuela Nabenia 70′).
Mexico: Alfredo Talavera, Carlos Salcedo, César Montes (Erick Aguirre 71′), Jorge Torres Nilo, José Javier Abella, Erick Gutiérrez, Michael Pérez, Oribe Peralta, Marco Bueno, Hirving Lozano (Arturo González 46′), Rodolfo Pizarro (Carlos Cisneros 35′).