After a dominant start to the 2018 World Cup, Mexico slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Sweden in their final group-stage game. However, with Germany suffering a surprise 2-0 loss to South Korea in the other Group F game, Mexico was still able to advance to the Round of Sixteen.
The game did not start well for Mexico, with Jesús Gallardo earning the fastest yellow card in the history of the World Cup when he was called for an elbow on Ola Toivonen just 13 seconds after kickoff. Then, in the 5th minute, Memo Ochoa was called for handling the ball outside of the box and the keeper then had to come up big to keep out the ensuing free kick from Emil Forsgberg.
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”.
After a historic upset victory against Germany in their opening World Cup game, Mexico will look to keep the momentum going when they take on South Korea in Rostov this Saturday.
Both of Group F’s first-round games were decided by a single goal, with Hirving Lozano’s first-half strike lifting El Tri past the Germans while the Koreans fell 1-0 to Sweden thanks to a second-half penalty kick.
Group F action gets underway on Sunday, when Germany takes on Mexico in Moscow. The reigning World Cup champions cruised though qualification with a perfect 10-0-0 record, but since then the Germans have won just one of their last six friendlies. Mexico finished first in CONCACAF qualifying with a record of six wins, three draws, and one loss, and are 3-1-2 in their friendlies this year.
In terms of head-to-head results, Germany has dominated, with five wins, five draws, and just one loss, which came back in 1985. In their most recent meeting in the 2017 Confederations Cup semifinals, Germany earned a comprehensive 4-1 victory.
The group stage of the Clausura 2018 Copa Corona MX wraps up this week with the sixth round of games. There is a lot on the line in these final matches, with 11 of the Round of Sixteen spots still up for grabs.
Santos Laguna 2-1 Toluca
Santos Laguna remained perfect in the Clausura 2018 Copa MX with a 2-1 victory against Toluca in this Group 4 game. The result leaves the Diablos Rojos winless in this competition. Santos opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark when Brian Lozano scored direct from a free kick to make it 1-0.
In the second half, Toluca found the equalizer. In the 66th minute, Fernando Uribe’s initial shot was saved but the rebound fell to Rodrigo Salinas, who made it 1-1. However, Santos soon retook the lead. In the 70th minute, Lozano hit the post, with the rebound then falling to Julio César Furch, who made it 2-1. Although Santos then went down to 10 men after Jorge Sánchez was red-cared, Toluca couldn’t take advantage as just minutes later they saw Pablo Barrientos sent off.
With the 2-1 win, Santos reaches six points while Toluca still has one.
Querétaro 3-1 Monarcas Morelia
Querétaro moved into first place in Group 9 with a 3-1 victory against Monarcas Morelia in their Clausura 2018 Copa MX debut. The Gallos Blancos took the lead in the 21st minute through Édgar Benítez, whose header made it 1-0 for the hosts. Morelia looked to respond but Querétaro’s defense stood firm, and the hosts had a few chances of their own to add to the lead.
Then, early in the second half, Morelia took advantage of their first set piece of the game to make it 1-1 through Emanuel Loeschbor. But Matías Britos restored Querétaro’s lead in the 63rd minute with a header of his own. Then, in the 83rd minute, Yerson Candelo added an insurance goal as his shot to the upper corner made it 3-1.
With the 3-1 win, Querétaro reaches three points while Morelia still has three.
Cafetaleros 2-1 León
Cafetaleros moved into first place in Group 1 with a 2-1 win against León. The visitors looked dangerous when Maxi Cerato and Álvaro Ramos combined, while Cafetaleros created chances of their own on the counter. But despite a number of opportunities at either end, neither team could break the deadlock in the first half.
The breakthrough didn’t come until the 74th minute, when Diego de la Torre sent in a cross for Leonardo Ramos, whose header made it 1-0 for the hosts. In the 82nd minute, Eduardo Pérez made it 2-0 as he won the ball in the box, got around the keeper, and scored. León pulled a goal back in stoppage time through Iván Piris, but La Fiera wasn’t able to go on to find an equalizer.
With the 2-1 win, Cafetaleros reach three points while León still has three.