Mexico and Nigeria played to a 2-2 draw inside Reliant Stadium in Houston on Friday night in a wild match that saw Mexico's Pablo Barrera sent off early with a red card, per SportsCenter:
El Tri FIGHT BACK! Chicharito scores 2 goals to help 10-man Mexico earn a draw against African champions Nigeria, 2-2.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 1, 2013
The favorite coming into Friday's match, Mexico got on the board first in the 21st minute, as Pablo Barrera played a beautiful ball into the box that went right to Chicharito, who pushed it past the goalkeeper for an early lead, per Glenn Davis:
Pablo Barrerra and Andres Guardado ripping apart Nigeria out wide. Chicharito has scored 1-0 Mexico. Houston on display! #BARRERA— Glenn Davis (@GlennDavisSoc) June 1, 2013
Unfortunately, the jubilation would only last a few moments for the Mexican supporters in attendance watching around the globe, as Barrera was sent off with a red card in the 28th minute after handling a shot from Nigeria in the box, per Colin Udoh:
Pablo Barrera shown a straight red for handling Oduamadi's goal-bound effort leading to the PK. Echiejile will be mighty relieved #MEXNGA— Colin Udoh (@ColinUdoh) June 1, 2013
Ideye Brown would score the penalty in the 29th to level the match at one goal apiece.
Just over 10 minutes later, Nigerian midfielder John Ogu put a shot on goal in the 40th minute that went in off a Mexican player, but put Nigeria ahead, 2-1. The Super Eagles would head into the locker room with not only a man advantage, but a one-goal advantage on the scoreboard, per Colin Udoh:
GOAL Mexico 1-2 Nigeria. John Ogu's shot from distance takes a wicked deflection and in #MEXNGA— Colin Udoh (@ColinUdoh) June 1, 2013
There was some debate over whether Ogu scored it or if it was an own goal by Gerardo Torrado, however, per Lolade Adewuyi:
The goal was awarded as an "own goal" to Mexico's Gerard Torrado so technically John Ogu is yet to score his first Naija goal. He won't mind— Lolade Adewuyi (@Jololade) June 1, 2013
The second half would feature plenty of scoring chances from both teams, but it was Mexico that capitalized, getting a 70th minute goal from Chicharito to even the score, per Lolade Adewuyi:
Second goal for Chicharito, the Manchester United man got in front of Enyeama for a tap in. 2-2— Lolade Adewuyi (@Jololade) June 1, 2013
Javier Hernandez and company would hold on for the final 20 minutes, earning a hard-fought draw north of the border.
Although outpossessed on the night, thanks to the early red card, the Mexicans managed to create more opportunities and shots than Nigeria, recording nearly twice as many (21-11) over the course of 90 minutes.
In the end, Friday's friendly result could be summed up in a variety of ways. While Nigeria were up a man, Mexico was the favorite. And while El Tri fought back to even the score, it was the favorite and therefore expected to do so, per Babatunde Adebajo:
FT: Mexico 2-2 Nigeria. Decent outing for the Eagles, another disappointing draw for Mexico sixth in a row— Babatunde Adebajo (@tundye) June 1, 2013
Pablo Barrera, Mexico: D
Barrera did well to set up Chicharito's opening goal early, but his poor play minutes later, no doubt, cost Mexico on Friday night. It's asking a lot of any team, no matter how talented to win while being a man down for over an hour.
Credit Barrera for his early assist, but make no mistake, his mental lapse proved to be the biggest mistake Mexico made on Friday.
Ideye Brown, Nigeria: B+
Ideye Brown delivered when he had to on Friday night, scoring the penalty to level the match and fire up his side. Brown only played a little over a half of football, but his poise on the penalty was his brightest moment.
But Brown could have been better in this match. He was caught offsides in an earlier scoring opportunity and was subbed off the field with just the one shot to his name.
Javier Hernandez, Mexico: A
It's fair to say that Chicharito was the man on Friday night, scoring not one, but two goals to salvage a respectable result for Mexico.
As is usually the case, Hernandez was lively on the attack and was in the right place at the right time. There was nothing spectacular about either of his two goals, but they were crucial for an undermanned Mexican squad.
|G||Jose de Jesus Corona||C|
|D||Francisco Rodriguez (Off 45')||B|
|M||Gerardo Torrado (Off 45')||C|
|M||Jesus Eduardo Zavala||B|
|M||Andres Guardado (Off 64')||B|
|F||Aldo De Nigris (Off 45')||B+|
|F||Javier Hernandez (Off 73')||A|
|D||Hiram Ricardo Mier Alanís (On 45')||B|
|D||Gerardo Flores (On 45')||B|
|M||Hector Herrera Rubio (On 45')||B|
|M||Angel Reyna Martinez (On 64')||B|
|M||Raúl Jiménez (On 73')||B|
|G||Austin Ejide (Off 45')||C|
|M||John Ogu (Off 69')||A|
|M||Nnamdi Oduamadi (Off 73')||B|
|F||Ideye Brown (Off 52')||B+|
|F||Joseph Akpala (Off 51')||B|
|G||Vincent Enyeama (On 45')||A|
|M||Michel Babatunde (On 52')||B|
|F||Anthony Ujah (On 51')||B|
|M||Emeka Eze (On 69')||B|
|F||Obinna Nwachukwu (73')||B|
Mexico will aim to bounce back from Friday's defeat on Tuesday in Jamaica, where El Tri will look to pick up a few points toward qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Mexico will play two more qualifying matches before heading to Brazil for the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Meanwhile, Nigeria will have a few days off as well to gear up for a World Cup qualifying tilt in Kenya on Wednesday. The Super Eagles will play again a week later against Namibia.
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