Mexico overcame driving rain and dubious officiating for a fully-deserved 1-0 win over Cameroon in their Group A clash at the FIFA World Cup on Friday.
Oribe Peralta put a dominant Mexico ahead in the 61st minute, after a couple blown offside calls in the first half cost El Tri two good goals.
Peralta’s goal fully justified coach Miguel Herrera's controversial decision to leave star striker Javier Hernandez on the bench.
Mexico finally got its deserved breakthrough in the 61st minute. A surgical pass from Héctor Herrera sprung Giovani Dos Santos for a clear break, which was stopped by Alfredo Talavera.
But Peralta was there to pounce on the rebound, and he put the ball in the back of the net. This time, the flag stayed down.
Man of the match
Dos Santos. The Mexican striker should have had a brace by halftime if not for those two blown offside calls by Colombia linesman Humberto Clavijo.
It was a good day for…
Miguel Herrera. The Mexican manager was taking a lot of heat for leaving Hernandez on the bench, but El Tri’s strong play ensured that he'll be hailed for his decision-making.
It was a bad day for…
The referees. The Colombian officiating crew ensured that poor refereeing would continue to be a talking point on Day 2 of the World Cup. Both Mexican first-half goals were clearly not offside, and referee Wilmar Roldan never fully had a handle on the match.
Overall entertainment rating
3/4. Mexico’s attacking flair ensured that the game had plenty of chances, while the officials did their part to stir up some talking points.
What does this mean?
Mexico needed a win against Cameroon to remain in contention for second spot in Group A, and El Tri delivered. A positive showing on the pitch, if not on the scoreboard, against Brazil on Tuesday (CBC, cbc.ca/fifaworldcup, 3 p.m. ET) will put Mexico in good shape heading into a crucial clash against Croatia.
For Cameroon, this makes things all the more difficult. The Indomitable Lions needed a positive result here to play spoiler against the stronger Mexicans and Croatians, but were run off the pitch by speedy Mexico. A victory against Croatia on Wednesday (CBC, cbc.ca/fifaworldcup, 6 p.m. ET) is crucial.
They said it
"We could have scored more, but unfortunately we're not used to these conditions. Frankly, the refereeing took away two clear goals, but at the end of the day you've got to work for it, and we get to the next match with three points and very high spirits." — Mexico manager Miguel Herrera