On Wednesday night from Marlins Park in Miami, the Mexican national soccer team used a solid second-half showing to defeat Senegal 2-0 in an international friendly.
The game-winner came in the 73rd minute from Jesus Duenas followed by the insurance from Rodolfo Pizarro. It salvaged a weak first half from El Tri.
Mexico fielded a more inexperienced, weaker side, as this wasn't a FIFA date. On paper, the play wasn't impressing many, including The Saint City Post:
Golden City @GoldenCityFC
Mexico sent its D squad for its #SoccerUnitedMarketing scrimmage with Senegal #MEXvsSEN2016-2-11 01:59:19
The D squad created a few chances in the first 45 minutes but lacked any serious threat. It was actually the 45th-ranked Senegalese who created the first chance of the game in the 28th minute, when Cherif Salif Sane found space behind the Mexico defense.
Coming down the left side, Sane sent a pass into the box to Dame Gueye, who managed to get a foot on the ball. But his shot was timid and gave Jose Corona enough time to punch the chance away.
It was a cause for concern for ESPN's Tom Marshall:
Tom Marshall @mexicoworldcup
Not great from Mexico this, especially at the back. Senegal look dangerous in final third.2016-2-11 02:13:47
While the game did not provide much of a scoring punch, WPLG's David Lang managed to fit in some baseball humor thanks to its venue:
David Lang @DukieLang
Mexico-Senegal friendly is scoreless --- I thought they were bringing in the fences at Marlins Park2016-2-11 02:16:51
Fox Soccer's Kyle McCarthy tried to reason why Mexico was so flat:
Kyle McCarthy @kylejmccarthy
Pretty awful from Mexico. But this is a makeshift, weakened team playing in midweek with little genuine preparation. Senegal OK, at least.2016-2-11 02:26:46
It wasn't a surprise for Bleacher Report's Joe Tansey:
Joe Tansey @JTansey90
This Mexico team that was thrown together quickly and only had 1 practice doesn't look great. What a surprise. #MEXvSEN #ElTri2016-2-11 03:02:49
Mexico finally started coming around in the second half. Eduardo Herrera turned a strong header on goal three minutes into the half, but Senegal's Papa Ndiaye saved it nicely. It was Mexico's first shot on target of the game.
The Mexicans' breakthrough came in the 73rd minute via Duenas, when he headed home a perfect cross from Candido Ramirez.
La Doce had the replay:
La Doce @LaDoce
#Amistoso Minuto 78 #México 1-0 #Senegal Así fue el gol de Jesús Dueñas https://t.co/1neOIopdZT2016-2-11 03:16:51
Four minutes from time, Pizarro doubled Mexico's lead with another header as he was unmarked in the middle of the box, as Seleccion Nacional shows:
Selección Nacional @miseleccionmx
#2T MEX 2 - 0 SEN @Corona_Futbol Informa: Con un buen remate de cabeza @Rpizarrot mete el segundo del partido. https://t.co/nxupWfE6sL2016-2-11 03:28:47
The offense wasn't anything special on Wednesday in terms of finishing, but it managed to hold on to 76 percent of possession.
El Tri's defense remained solid too, as Marshall pointed out:
Tom Marshall @mexicoworldcup
Mexico have gone 270 minutes under Osorio without conceding a goal2016-2-11 03:31:40
For manager Juan Carlos Osorio, fielding a team of less familiar names gave him an opportunity to find some diamonds in the rough. With 2018 World Cup qualifying getting underway in March, the more options Osorio will have, the better Mexico's chances will be to find the perfect side to advance to final stages of the tournament.
Stats courtesy of ESPNFC.com.