Mexico made it two wins out of two as they beat South Korea 2-1 in their second Group F game. The result puts El Tri on the brink of the quarterfinals, and their spot in the knockout round could be assured later this afternoon depending on the result of the Germany/Sweden game. South Korea, meanwhile, is on the brink of elimination after their second straight loss.
The victory came in front of a largely pro-Mexico crowd in the Rostov Arena, and for once the ubiquitous homophobic goal-kick chant was inaudible as the fans chose instead to chant the names of players, yell “olé”, and sing “Cielito lindo”.
Mexico controlled the run of play and looked the more dangerous side initially, although South Korea looked improved from their first game against Sweden. Nevertheless, the Koreans had few chances – the most dangerous coming from a corner, which Memo Ochoa knocked over the bar – and in the 26th minute, Mexico took the lead.
Referee Milorad Mazic pointed to the spot after an Andrés Guardado cross was blocked by the arm of the sliding Jang Hyun-Soo. Carlos Vela stepped up to take the PK, and he converted it to make it 0-1 for El Tri.
Mexico added to their advantage in the second half in controversial fashion. A quick counterattack by Hirving Lozano ended with Javier “Chicharito” Hernández making it 2-0 with his 50th international goal. However, the play was started when Héctor Herrera appeared to foul Ki Sung-Yueng to regain possession. The referee waved play on and Mexico profited from it.
That goal proved vital for Mexico when Son Heung-Min grabbed a consolation goal for the Koreans in stoppage time, making it 2-1 and making Chicharito’s goal the decisive one.
With the 2-1 win, Mexico reaches six points while South Korea still has zero.
South Korea: Jo Hyeon-Woo, Kim Young-Gwon, Jang Hyun-Soo, Kim Min-Woo (Hong Chul 84′), Lee Yong, Lee Jae-Sung, Ki Sung-Yueng, Ju Se-Jong (Lee Seung-Woo 64′), Hwang Hee-Chan, Moon Seon-Min (Jung Woo-Young 77′).
Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa, Héctor Moreno, Carlos Salcedo, Jesús Gallardo, Edson Álvarez, Carlos Vela (Giovani dos Santos 77′), Andrés Guardado (Rafael Márquez 68′), Héctor Herrera, Javier Hernández, Hirving Lozano (Jesús Manuel Corona 71′), Miguel Layún.