Mexico Overcome Deficit to Beat New Zealand in 2017 Confederations Cup

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2017

Mexico's Oribe Peralta celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Mexico and New Zealand, at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, June 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Raul Jimenez and Oribe Peralta scored as Mexico battled back from 1-0 down to beat New Zealand 2-1 in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia on Wednesday.

Chris Wood opened the scoring for New Zealand in the first half, but the Kiwis couldn't hold on and were eliminated.

A win means El Tri have moved on to four points and kept pace with Portugal in Group A.

Mexico started with star striker Javier Hernandez on the bench but could still count on cerebral forward Giovani dos Santos for inspiration in attack, per the tournament's official Twitter feed:

El Tri may have been missing a goal-getter, but prolific Leeds United striker Wood led the line for New Zealand:

It was Wood who had the best chance of the half when he got through one-on-one just after the half-hour mark. However, the 25-year-old couldn't beat Alfredo Talavera in the Mexico goal.

Wood made amends three minutes before the break when he pounced on a mistake in the Mexican defence before sliding the ball past Talavera with aplomb. The Leeds man had scored a rare goal for the Kiwis in this competition:

Wood also achieved a personal milestone at international level, according to Squawka Football:

It was no less than New Zealand deserved for a disciplined and intelligent performance during the opening 45 minutes. Wood and Co. were compact defensively and broke with precision and pace.

BBC Brasil's Tim Vickery was critical of Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio at half-time:

Credit to Osorio, though, he did introduce midfield playmaker Hector Herrera at the break. The Porto pass-master was instrumental in helping El Tri improve on the ball.

It took Mexico just nine minutes after the restart to draw level when Jimenez found the net. OptaJavier noted how Jimenez has been in a rich vein of form for the national side recently:

Peralta made it 2-1 19 minutes later, as El Tri's quality began to tell.

A major flare-up occurred just before the 90th minute when a New Zealand break was disrupted by some cynical fouling. Tensions were high in the ensuring scuffle, and video replay was needed to identify those at the centre of the melee.

Once things calmed down, Mexico couldn't increase their lead in the just over eight minutes of injury time, but they did survive to preserve their advantage, despite the Kiwis hitting the bar.

El Tri have failed to click through two matches but still haven't lost. Osorio's team will be dangerous if they get it together.

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