Mexico once again had to come from behind, but they ultimately beat Russia 2-1 in their last group stage game. The victory gives El Tri a spot in the Confederations Cup semifinals while eliminating the hosts.
Mexico controlled possession in the opening stanza, but Russia looked dangerous when they did have the ball. The hosts had two penalty shouts, one which went to VAR, and then, in the 25th minute, they took the lead. Alexandr Erokhin whiffed on his attempted shot but was able to keep control of the ball and send it over to Aleksandr Samedov, who made it 1-0.
It didn’t take Mexico long to respond, however. In the 30th minute, Néstor Araujo got on the end of a cross from Héctor Herrera and put his header into the top corner to make it 1-1.
A tie was good enough for Mexico, but not for Russia. They came out in the second half looking to retake the lead and in the 47th minute Samedov put the ball in the net. However, the would-be goal was disallowed for offside.
Then, in the 52nd minute, El Tri put a dagger into Russia’s hopes with a goal by Hirving Lozano. “Chucky” ran on to a long clearance by Herrera at the top of the box, getting his head to the ball just ahead of Akinfeev, who ended up kicking Lozano in the chest.
Minutes later, Héctor Moreno had the ball in the net again but, after VAR review, the would-be goal was disallowed for offside.
In the 68th minute, Russia’s hopes of a comeback were dealt another blow when Yuri Zhirkov was given a second yellow card after elbowing Miguel Layún, leaving the hosts to see out the game with 10 men.
Mexico held on to the lead to advance to the semifinals, where they will face the winner of Group B on Thursday.
With the 2-1 win, Mexico reaches seven points while Russia still has three.
Group Standings – Group A
Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa, Héctor Moreno, Néstor Araujo, Miguel Layún, Diego Reyes (Luis Reyes 39′), Héctor Herrera, Andrés Guardado (Oswaldo Alanís 70′), Jonathan dos Santos, Javier Hernández, Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela (Javier Aquino 45′).
Russia: Igor Akinfeev, Viktor Vasin, Fyodor Kudryashov, Giorgi Jikia, Yuri Zhirkov, Aleksandr Samedov, Denis Glushakov, Aleksandr Golovin, Alexandr Erokhin (Igor Smolnikov 70′), Aleksandr Bukharov (Dmitriy Poloz 64′), Fedor Smolov (Maksim Kanunnikov 78′).