Mexico again played out a frustrating 0-0 draw in their international friendly against Peru, despite dominating most of the attacking chances on Wednesday night.
The home of last year's NFC Champions the San Francisco 49ers, Candlestick Park was a magnificent sight to see converted into a football pitch and provided a great atmosphere once the respective sets of fans filled the stands.
Both countries rested a number of their key starting players given the fact this was just a friendly match, but there was still plenty of exciting action to be found, with the players that did play desperate to try and impress on the international stage.
The vast majority of this game was spent in the attacking third for Mexico, with El Tri looking to find Jimenez and Marquez Lugo at the top of the attack.
Mexico would find themselves with two penalty shots very early in the match, with their main appeal coming after Lugo was brought to ground on six minutes.
The referee, however, would wave the Mexican pleas for a penalty away.
That would turn out to be one of Mexico's best chances at a goal in the opening 30 minutes, with El Tri struggling to find their rhythm in attack, despite dominating possession and attacking chances. They appeared disjointed and not on the same wave length—struggling to connect with their passes.
Again Mexico lacking spark. Seems to be little understanding between players. Been going on a while now and it is getting slightly worrying.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) April 18, 2013
Their best chance would come on 35 minutes when Jimenez found himself in behind the Peruvian defense. The in-form striker would beat Carvallo, who had come quickly off his line but was not able to get his shot into the empty net—hitting the outside of the post from a very tight angle.
Pablo Barrera would see the final chance of the half on 43 minutes when he too got in behind the attack on a great long ball. However, he too was unable to get his shot past the defenders and then misplaced his attempted pass after that—aptly summing up the first half for El Tri.
HT: Mexico 0 - Peru 0. Poor half from El Tri. Most of the opportunities came from direct balls over the top. No rhythm whatsoever.— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) April 18, 2013
Mexico would make three substitutions after halftime in a bid to try and win back control of the match, and the results were immediately forthcoming for the North American nation on everywhere but the scoresheet as they desperately pressed for the game's first goal.
El Tri would continue to find themselves in good attacking chances throughout the second half but simply could not connect on their final pass.
Peru would see their best chance of the night on the hour mark, when Josepmir Ballon's curling effort from the edge of the box went just wide of the goal.
Barrera would again get in behind the defense with a great run 25 minutes from time, but once again, his cross could not find the mark, with El Tri then squandering their chance off the clearance with Angel Reyna's audacious bicycle kick.
Mexico's night would be summed up perfectly after their substitute Omar Bravo was brought to ground inside the box.
Even with minimal contact the referee ruled a penalty for Mexico, but Reyna could not convert on the spot—saved by Carvallo with a brilliant save to his right.
@svaldezjr23 Understood but it still isn't good and is off the back on four games without a win when the A team did play.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) April 18, 2013
Peru would see a great chance turned just wide on 78 minutes when Mexican goalkeeper Talavera pushed wide Ramos' glancing header.
Given how little action Talavera had throughout the match, he had done very well to stay focused and make a game-changing save for El Tri; it would ultimately see them walk away with a clean sheet from this one and some positives to takeaway from the frustrating draw.
A great result from Peru, who defended gallantly throughout the night, but this outcome was all based on the poor play from Mexico, who really should have done more in this one against a weak opponent—the story of the year so far from El Tri.
FT: Mexico 0 - Peru 0. Boos rain down on Mexico after another drab performance. Yet another draw for Chepo de la Torre's side.— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) April 18, 2013
Five draws for El Tri in 2013, just three goals scored. Mexico 0-0 Peru. Pressure increasing on Chepo ahead of a big summer for El Tri.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) April 18, 2013
Raul Jimenez, ST, Mexico: A-
Having enjoyed a breakout season with Club America so far, Jimenez was again an attacking threat right throughout this one and combined brilliantly with Rafael Marquez throughout the match.
Due to poor work at times behind him in midfield, Jimenez did not see the ball or attacking opportunities as much as he would have liked but did everything he could to inject himself into the game—often dropping further back to try and create the attack.
His effort on goal in the 35th minute showed his great pace and keen eye for goal and was very nearly able to score one of the more remarkable efforts seen in recent years from El Tri—shooting from a very tight angle but striking the outside of the post.
Very hard to fault him for that missed chance—especially given the work that he tried to get through in this one with the midfield struggling behind him.
Jose Carvallo, GK, Peru: A+
It would be easy to give Carvallo a great grade here given his penalty save, and whilst that save was the defining moment, the Peruvian goalkeeper was still superb in many other areas on the night.
Carvallo was superb in ready crosses and coming out to put pressure on the long-ball game that El Tri tried to employ in this one. Had he not come out from his goal against Jimenez and apply great pressure on the striker, the South American side would likely have fallen behind in this one—as they would have many times throughout the night without his strong showing.
His penalty save was brilliant—getting down well and swatting away Reyna's attempt with ease—and did very well to also deal with the follow-up effort.
A top-class game from the Peru goalkeeper.
Pablo Barrera, RW, Mexico: B+
Likely to be a starting player by the time the Gold Cup and World Cup roll around next year, Barrera showed again how impressive he can be for El Tri.
Playing his first game in over eight months due to injury, he showed little signs of fatigue and was a constant threat down the right all night with his crosses and mazy dribbling constantly causing problems for Peru's defense. Though, having said that, he did at times struggle to connect on the final pass and was left to rue his failure to connect with his teammates arriving in the middle.
Sometimes it was his teammates' fault, but he was often responsible as well.
Even still, a great return for the Chepo winger, who will likely feature for El Tri in the near future when their qualifying for the 2014 World Cup resumes.
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