A spirited New Zealand side has gone out of the Confederations Cup fighting after a 2-1 loss to Mexico
A much-changed Mexican line-up struggled throughout the first-half as New Zealand’s high-pressure game and desire to win the second ball paid dividends. Chris Wood’s goal late in the first-half was the kiwi sides reward for all of their endeavor.
As expected, the Mexicans came out firing in the second half, with numerous chances early in the second. They finally got their goal when Raul Jimenez turned and fired a layoff into the top corner. On 73 minutes, Oribe Peralta made it 2-1, finishing off a delightful move.
It was a match of attacking, intensity and passion. Surprisingly Mexico were pushed all the way, but they ended up breathing a sigh of relief after coach Osorio made the necessary changes to secure the result. And, despite late kiwi pressure, Mexico held onto the win they needed.
Juan Carlos Osorio gets his tactics wrong in the first, reshuffles
Osorio made eight changes to the team that played out the highly credible draw with Portugal in the opener, and without key personnel across the park Mexico struggled to adjust in a first-half which New Zealand largely dominated.
All of his big guns were kept in reserve for the Portugal match, as Osorio felt that NZ would not be a threat.
Things weren’t helped as Carlos Saceldo dislocated his shoulder late in the first-half after a clash with Chris Wood, and NZ’s captain then helped himself to the opener just five minutes later.
Osorio made the required change in the second, bringing on Hector Herrera and switching to three at the back. It paid almost immediate dividends.
NZ’s first Confederations Cup goal since 2003
It was a shock to see the All Whites score first in this game, and it was only their third goal in four confed cup competitions and it came after 553 minutes of confederations cup football.
It was fitting that Wood got the goal, as his presence was felt across the park, despite the fact he missed a few golden opportunities.
Oribe Peralta – NZ’s Bogeyman
When he finished off Aquino’s cut back Peralta made it six goals in just three appearances against the Kiwis and sealed the win for his side.