Mexico vs. Senegal: Winners and Losers from International Friendly
Mexico started their busy 2016 schedule with a 2-0 victory over Senegal at Marlins Park in Miami on Wednesday night.
El Tri struggled to pose a consistent threat in the final third until the final 25 minutes, when they produced a pair of goals in front of their restless fans.
Jesus Duenas opened the scoring with a headed goal off a Candido Ramirez cross, and Rodolfo Pizarro extended the lead in the 87th minute from the middle of the box.
Only a few of the young players selected by Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio made a ton of noise, while some left the match with a drop in stock, thanks to poor performances at the home of Major League Baseball's Miami Marlins.
Here's a look at our winners and losers from Mexico's first victory of 2016.
Winner: Jesus Duenas
Jesus Duenas turned the boos at Marlins Park into cheers with his headed strike in the 73rd minute.
The goal, which was the first for the Tigres player in a Mexico shirt, broke a frustrating deadlock for an El Tri side that failed to put away their chances for most of the night.
In addition to scoring in his sixth appearance for Mexico, Duenas was a steady force in the middle of the park for the majority of his 90-minute shift.
Duenas was one of the few fringe players who improved their stock on the Mexico depth chart on Wednesday night. Thanks to his performance against Senegal, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Duenas in the 23-man squad for the upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers against Canada at the end of March.
Loser: Jurgen Damm
One of the players who was expected to shine on Wednesday for Mexico was winger Jurgen Damm.
Instead of wowing the El Tri fans in attendance, as well as manager Juan Carlos Osorio, Damm left the pitch in the 72nd minute with plenty left to prove.
The 23-year-old Tigres player rarely found himself on the ball, and when he did touch the ball on the right wing, Adama Mbengue stopped him in his tracks.
With nothing but competitive matches ahead in the next few months for El Tri, Damm may not have a chance to make a mark on the first team for a while.
Winner: Hirving Lozano
Hirving Lozano was the best attacker on the pitch for Mexico on Wednesday night in the win over Senegal.
From the first whistle on, Lozano provided El Tri with a constant threat on the left wing while Damm and others failed to get going in the final third.
The 20-year-old Pachuca man capped his night with a terrific assist on Rodolfo Pizarro's 87th-minute tally. Lozano played a nice ball from the right wing into Pizarro, who finished his shot into the bottom of the net.
Lozano may not be able to break into the first-team attack in 2016, but he could be a key player for Mexico when the Olympics roll around in August.
Loser: Yasser Corona
The international game looked too big for 28-year-old Yasser Corona at Marlins Park.
The Queretaro player rarely made a good touch in defense during his 45 minutes on the pitch, and he almost handed Senegal a goal in the 28th minute.
Corona's gaffe on the left side of the pitch handed Cherif Sane a golden opportunity to surge in on goal and feed Dame Gueye with a pass. Luckily for the Mexico defender, goalkeeper Jesus Corona made a terrific save on Gueye to keep the game level at 0-0.
The defender's exit before the start of the second half spoke volumes about his poor showing in the first half. Until he finds a way to play consistent football in front of his own net, Corona won't see much time with the first team.
Winner: Cherif Sane
For the first 70 minutes of the contest, Senegal forward Cherif Sane was the best player on the pitch.
Sane caused plenty of problems to the Mexico back four throughout the first half with his willingness to take risks and start counters down the right wing.
The Senegal-based player almost earned an assist in the 28th minute, but Jesus Corona denied Gueye's shot near the left post.
If he keeps up his form, Sane could end up being a key contributor to Senegal's first team in the near future.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.