Mexico Cruise Past China in 2018 Toulon Tournament Group Stage

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2018

Mexico's Eduardo Aguirre controls the ball during his team's Under-20 Concacaf qualifying football match against the United States at the Ricardo Saprissa Stadium in Tibas, Costa Rica on February 27, 2017. / AFP / EZEQUIEL BECERRA        (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
EZEQUIEL BECERRA/Getty Images

Mexico beat China 3-1 in the 2018 Toulon Tournament at Stade Parsemain in Fos-sur-Mer, France, on Friday.

Roberto Alvarado netted a smart equaliser in the first half after Deng Yubiao had opened the scoring for China after 12 minutes. Eduardo Aguirre put El Tri in front nine minutes before the break, then he converted a penalty in the 63rd minute to make the win safe.

The result gives Mexico top spot in Group A, barring a heavy win for England over Qatar, and a place in the semi-finals.

China streaked into an early lead when Deng found some space and finished well. He'd been played through by winger Xie Weijun, who caused El Tri a host of problems from the flanks.

Rising talent Lainez was again impressive for his country.
Rising talent Lainez was again impressive for his country.Bikas Das/Associated Press

It took Mexico 16 minutes to get back on terms, something they managed when Alvarado swept a left-footed shot into the net. Eight minutes later, Mexico had a deserved lead when Aguirre headed home after meeting a pinpoint cross from rising star Diego Lainez.

The latter has won admirers, including Villarreal, Betis and Espanyol of La Liga, per Marca's Diego Acedo (h/t Goal's Jon Arnold), for his precocious talent, and showed off his technique with plenty of teasing set-piece deliveries during the opening 45 minutes.

YouTuber Nayib Moran noticed how a tactical switch had made 17-year-old Lainez more threatening:

Uriel Antuna is another player who caught the eye:

Mexico made it 3-1 with just over an hour on the clock when Aguirre converted from the penalty spot after Cesar Montes had been felled in the box by Sun Weizhe. Santos Laguna forward Aguirre has already found the net four times in the competition.

The goal proved enough for Mexico to see out the game without too much fuss. Coach Marc Antonio Ruiz's team has performed well in Group A, scoring seven and shipping just two, and the squad has enough technical acumen to win the tournament.

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