|(Photo by Tommy Smith)|
The Kiwis controlled play in midfield and fluffed several goal scoring opportunities. The defending was decent, with All Whites, dressed in all black, trying to get numbers behind the ball.
Lack of maturity was visible in counter attacking as lapses of concentration proved to be their Achilles heel inside the penalty box.
The goal did not come against the run of play, and just a single goal at the time was injustice to the efforts of the Kiwis. The football result would not do justice this fixture.
Mexico came into the second half a changed side. They increased the match tempo and pressed high.
The South American champions, inter-passed and smothered a few counter-attacks squandered by New Zealand.
As fate would have it, All Whites paid for all their misses as they conceded 10 minutes into the second half.
As much as they tried to form a human curtain infront of the goal, only a spectacular could breach that defence, and what a strike it was.
A sucker punch came with barely 20 minutes of lay left. Swing movement from the back via the left wing, with play taken to the by-line and a cut back saw a near post short squeezed past a sprawling goalkeeper.
Mexico kept increasing the tempo and utilising all counter attacking opportunities to press for their course but failed to convert due to selfish tendencies.
New Zealand were still in business with 5 minutes to go as they struck the post with a ferocious shot past a bemused keeper.
The Video Referee Assistant took centre stage once more, as the referee, had to consult with the technology at the centre line, to assess the chaotic free-for-all shoving party, after a Mexican held back a counter-attacking Kiwi.
The moment resulted in a few brandished yellow cards for different offences during the commotion.
Mexico prevailed despite a decent show by the New Zealanders.