Reigning gold medalists Mexico saw their Olympic soccer campaign come to an abrupt, early halt with a 1-0 loss to South Korea. That result sees El Tri finish third in Group C and fail to advance to the knockout rounds. South Korea tops the group and is joined in the quarterfinals by Germany.
With the Germans crushing Fiji 10-0, Mexico needed to win this game to advance. They enjoyed more possession in the first half and kept the Koreans largely in their own defensive third; however, they were unable to capitalize on their chances as César Montes, Michael Pérez, Erick Torres, and Marco Bueno were all denied.
South Korea rarely threatened and did so mainly through set pieces; they were leading the group and would advance even with a draw, so they were content to sit back, defend, and look for chances on the counter or through dead ball situations.
Hirving Lozano, who many fans expected to start the match, was brought on in the 51st minute, but the striker’s first contribution to the game was a foul that resulted in a long injury delay.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 77th minute, when Chang-Hoon Kwon scored on a solo effort to make it 1-0 for the South Koreans.
Mexico needed to find two goals in the final 13 minutes of the match, but they were ultimately unable to find even one as South Korea put all their effort into running down the clock and killing off the game.
With frustrations mounting, Lozano earned a red card for shoving Hee-Chan Hwang in the 93rd minute.
With the 1-0 win, South Korea reaches seven points and moves on to the quarterfinals while Mexico remains on four and is eliminated.
South Korea: Sung-Yun Gu, Sang-Min Sim, Seul-Chan Lee, Hyun-Soo Jang, Seung-Hyun Jung, Heung-Min Son, Seung-Woo Ryu (Hyun-Jun Suk 71′), Yong-Woo Park, Chang-Hoon Kwon (Min-Tae Kim 92′), Chang-Min Lee (Chang-Dong Lee 54′), Hee-Chan Hwang.
Mexico: Alfredo Talavera, César Montes, Jorge Torres Nilo (Carlos Fierro 80′), Carlos Salcedo, Erick Aguirre, Michael Pérez, Erick Gutiérrez, Carlos Cisneros, Arturo González (Hirving Lozano 51′), Marco Bueno (Raúl López 69′), Erick Torres.