Last-gasp goal earns Spain a tie with Mexico

Spain, by way of David Silva, rained on Mexico’s parade in the final minutes of stoppage time to give the newly crowned champs a deserving 1-1 draw at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium.

As Mexico celebrated the 200th anniversary of its independence from none other than Spain, El Tri wanted to give their country a great anniversary gift. Manchester United’s Javier Hernández proved to still be on a hot streak and gave Mexico a 1-0 lead early on.

However, the Red Fury would have none of that. Silva, Hernández’s cross-city rival at Manchester City, pulled Spain even to keep the shine on their new crown.

The Iberians fielded a mixture of first-teamers and fresh faces, as opposed to Mexico’s A-team, in the first half.

Mexico threatened early, but didn’t break through until the 12th minute thanks to a smart move from Carlos Vela and some confusion from Spain’s back line. The play started when Andrés Guardado took the ball on the left side of midfield and threaded a pass to Vela. The forward recognized he was offside and let the ball keep rolling. Hernández noticed this and ran past the defense, who had stopped, and proceeded to slot the ball past Iker Casillas on a one-on-one.

Spain’s clearest chances of netting the equalizer came at the half-hour mark. First, a lack of communication between Mexico’s center backs and goalie Guillermo Ochoa allowed Fernando Llorente to pick up the ball just outside of the six-yard box. However, the defenders recovered just in time to send the ball out.

Not even 30 seconds had passed when Spain’s Santi Cazorla smashed a left-footed effort from distance on the crossbar. The midfielder dribbled took the ball about 30 yards out and sent a knuckler that dipped past Ochoa’s outstretched arm and onto the wood.

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Mexico struck right back by way of the New York Red Bulls newest acquisition, Rafael Márquez. The captain came up with a rebound four yards outside the box and sent a low grazer towards the frame. Casillas, though, dove well and turned aside Márquez’s shot.

Five minutes later, Casillas saw himself involved in another one-on-one, this time against Vela. The Arsenal striker received a nice chipped pass from Giovani dos Santos behind the defense and tried to put it away on a bounce, but Casillas did enough to bother him, and Mexico’s No. 11 sent his shot wide.

Vicente del Bosque decided to bring in five regulars at halftime, including Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos and David Silva, to strengthen the Spanish side. Xavi and Pedro came on later in the second half to spark the the offense.

Mexico interim coach Enrique “Ojitos” Meza, on the other hand, decided to try out some new players, giving a chance to Monarcas Morelia midfielder Elías Hernández and Club América striker Enrique Esqueda.

Spain’s offensive substitutions took a while to get going, but they did when it mattered most. During the last 10 minutes of play, the Red Fury went on a furious attack and blanketed Mexico’s defense. However, El Tri continuously held Spain back.

It seemed that the world champions would walk away with a defeat in their first game since winning the World Cup, but Silva came to the rescue. The attacker pounced on a through-ball from Xavi and slotted past Mexico substitute Jesús Corona to give Spain a much-deserved draw in the 91st minute.

Silva almost struck again two minutes later, but he sent his shot just wide of the far post to end the match 1-1.

The tie gave Spain the Bicentennial Trophy that was up for grabs.


Scoring Summary:

MEX – J. Hernández, 12’

ESP – Silva, 91’


Lineups:

Mexico – Ochoa (Corona, 55’); Salcido, Moreno (López, 65’), Rodríguez, Juárez, Guardado (Pinto, 69), Torrado, Márquez (Aguilar, 57’), Dos Santos (E. Hernández, 65’), J. Hernández (Barrera, 46’), Vela (Esqueda, 57’)

Spain – Casillas (Valdez, 46’); Monreal, Marchena (Piqué, 65’), Puyol (Ramos, 46’), Arbeola, Mata (Navas, 46’), Cazorla, Fábregas (Xabi Alonso, 46’), Busquets (Xavi, 61’), Bruno (Pedro, 71’), Llorente (Silva, 46’)


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