Mexico saw their perfect start to 2017 come to a halt with a 1-2 loss to Croatia in an international friendly held in Los Angeles. The loss ends a nine-game unbeaten streak for El Tri and is just their second defeat under Juan Carlos Osorio. Meanwhile, Croatia earned their second victory of the year.
Despite the loss, the game remains notable for Mexico as Javier Hernández’s goal made “Chicharito” the all-time leading goalscorer for the Mexican national team.
The first half saw a very disjointed Mexico side; although Croatia was missing most of their star players, El Tri couldn’t capitalize on their inexperience. Instead, the Croatians took the lead just past the half-hour mark before quickly doubling their advantage.
In the 35th minute, Fran Tudor ran on to a ball in the box and drew out Guillermo Ochoa before passing to Duje Cop, who sent the ball into the empty net to make it 0-1 for Croatia.
Just a minute later, Tudor picked off a bad back-pass by Diego Reyes and rounded the keeper before making it 0-2 from a tight angle.
Mexico made three halftime substitutions as they looked to get back into the game, and Andrés Guardado did have a good effort with a free kick that Lovre Kalinic knocked over the bar. Kalinic then stopped an Oribe Peralta header and an attempted follow-up by Hirving Lozano to maintain Croatia’s two-goal lead.
Croatia went down to 10 men in the 77th minute when Mile Skoric picked up his second yellow card of the night, but Mexico still struggled to find the breakthrough.
Finally, in the 87th minute, Javier Hernández – who had entered the game to an ovation from the crowd in the 66th minute – reduced the deficit for Mexico when he headed home a free kick from Guardado to make it 1-2. The goal was Chicharito’s 47th for the national team, moving him ahead of Jared Borgetti on the all-time goalscoring charts.
Nevertheless, El Tri was unable to go on to find an equalizer, as 10-man Croatia held on for the 1-2 win.
Next up for Mexico is a friendly against Ireland on June 1st, while Croatia’s attention turns to their June 11th World Cup qualifier against Iceland.
Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa, Héctor Moreno, Diego Reyes (Néstor Araujo 45′), Luis Reyes, Miguel Layún, Jesús Molina (Andrés Guardado 45′), Héctor Herrera, Erick Gutiérrez (Jonathan dos Santos 45′), Oribe Peralta (Javier Hernández 66′), Hirving Lozano, Elías Hernández (Carlos Vela 54′).
Croatia: Lovre Kalinic, Jakov Filipovic, Zoran Nizic, Borna Barisic, Tin Jedvaj, Nikolas Vlasic (Mato Milos 90′), Mile Skoric, Ivan Sunjic, Ivan Santini (Nikola Katic 83′), Duje Cop (Lovro Majer 93′), Fran Tudor (Denis Kolinger 71′).