Mexican Soccer

Young Croatia team holds on to friendly win over Mexico

Photo by Kelvin Kuo/USA Today Sports

Javier Hernandez may have left Los Angeles with the record on Saturday night but Croatia left with the win.

In a tune up for World Cup qualifiers, the Mexico fell, 2-1, to Croatia. While it wasn’t a first choice lineup for El Tri, Croatia also played a B squad in the friendly. The story of the night was Javier Hernandez becoming the all-time leading goal scorer for El Tri with his 47th goal in his country’s colors.

Croatia struck first as Guillermo Ochoa was pulled off of his line in the 36th minute. Fran Tudor pounced on a ball outside of the box then fired it across the front of the goal, setting Duje Cop up for an easy finish. Cop converted to give Croatia the early 1-0 lead.

One minute later, Tudor doubled Croatia’s advantage capitalizing on another Mexico mistake. Tudor beat Ochoa to a back pass from his defense and fired it home putting Croatia up 2-0 going into halftime.

At the half, Juan Carlos Osorio made three changes, bringing Jonathan dos Santos, Andres Guardado and Nestor Araujo into the match. The Guardado sub almost paid off as he had a free kick that was just tipped over the bar by Croatia’s keeper Lovre Kalinic.

Croatia was brought down to 10 men in the 77th minute. Carlos Vela’s run drew a foul from Mile Skoric which resulted in his second yellow card of the game. 10 minutes later, Mexico was able to pull one back.

Hernandez got on the end of a free kick by Guardado to score for El Tri. The header put him in first place on Mexico’s goalscoring charts but is was not enough to secure a result.

Next up for Mexico is a tune-up friendly against Ireland on June 1 before resuming World Cup Qualifiers against Honduras and the U.S. Men’s National team on June 8 and the 11, respectively.

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