It's Oribe Peralta all over again. El Hermoso scored his first goal in four games to help Mexico secure a key victory against Cameroon.
Peralta had not been sharp in previous matches. After scoring five of El Tri's nine goals in the two-legged playoff against New Zealand, he only netted once in the warm-up matches.
The Club America striker defeated Kim Seung-gyu once earlier this year, when Mexico faced South Korea's B-team in Texas.
Peralta didn't make much of an impact later on. He started against Nigeria, Israel, Ecuador and Portugal and only shot six times, four against the Super Eagles and twice in front of the Blues and Whites.
His lack of consistency and Miguel Herrera's need to try other players resulted in Peralta's first game on the bench since El Piojo took over the team. Five days before Mexico's World Cup debut, Herrera acknowledged in a press conference that El Tri lacked forcefulness, as reported by Spanish-language website MedioTiempo.com.
El Hermoso wasn't as sharp with Santos Laguna (his former club) either. He scored eight times throughout the tournament, and his last goal came in April in the 2014 Clausura's last matchday.
But Peralta had proved before that he could come back from tough situations. In 2012, he missed several games with Mexico senior team due to an injury, and he played with the under-23 squad instead.
He was one of Mexico’s overage players at the Summer Olympics but wasn't a factor until the last match of the group stage. Peralta scored the winning goal against Switzerland, which also meant securing the top spot of Group B.
Little by little, he started to make a difference. In the semifinals, he bagged his second goal of the tournament, and in the gold-medal match, he stunned Brazil twice to secure the victory.
El Hermoso has always been the kind of player who needs one goal to get things going.
In the past Liga MX tournament, he netted until Matchday 8, but after that, he scored seven goals in the following eight matches—talk about consistency.
Something similar happened in the 2012 Clausura. He finished the tournament with 15 goals to his name, eight of those in the last seven games (including the Liguilla).
Peralta's goal against the Indomitable Lions couldn't come in a better time.
Just when the team needed to shake off the pressure and secure three points, he stood up. The timing is also perfect because Giovani dos Santos finally proved that he can perform at his best for 90 minutes and not just for a little bit.
Remember, these two partnered in London two years ago, and they scored seven of the 12 goals that Mexico had at the Olympics.
Peralta's hunger and talent are in the perfect mix to surprise the upcoming rivals. He will be a thriving force for El Tri yet again.
All advanced stats courtesy of miseleccion.mx, unless otherwise noted.
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