Mexico remain unbeaten in the José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre era as Javier “Chicharito” Hernández canceled out a Pawel Brozek tally to help Mexico tie Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland 1-1 on Friday night at Nowy Stadion Leggi in Warsaw.
Chicharito showed he’s finally back to his old self after suffering a concussion during a Manchester United training session ahead of their match against the MLS All-Stars in July by scoring in the 35th minute, just eight minutes after Brozek had put Poland ahead.
New York Red Bulls center back Rafa Márquez remained on the bench for the contest.
The draw marked de la Torre’s 13th match unbeaten since taking over El Tri in January of this year.
Though their tactics were evident early on, both teams struggled to find their footing. Mexico looked to do some damage by stringing short passes and using their speed along the wings to send in some crosses while Poland opted for lightning-quick forays.
Chicharito sent his first warning shot of the match in the 13th minute, heading a cross from Héctor Moreno well wide of the far post. Just seconds later, Ludovic Obraniak found the ball in the box but failed to put Poland ahead, sending his attempt wide of the far post as well.
Who didn’t miss was Obraniak’s teammate, Brozek, who bagged the first goal of the match in the 27th minute. After winning the ball in the midfield, Mierzejewski was sent forward along the right side with a nice through ball, and the midfielder in turn crossed to his Brozek, who beat Mexico ‘keeper Alfredo Talavera to the ball and tapped it in.
It didn’t take long for El Tri to dig themselves out of their hole. In the 35th minute, after playing a short corner with Antonio Naelson “Sinha,” Andrés Guardado found Chicharito in the box at the far post with a gently lofted cross. The Man. United man settled the ball with his chest and booted the equalizer inside the near upright.
The goal marked Chicharito’s 22nd for El Tri. He’s now 24 goals behind Mexico's all-time scoring leader Jared Borgetti.
Mexico’s defense continued to cause problems. In the 40th, some lackadaisical passing led to a steal from Jakub Wawrzyniak, who then sped towards the box and let loose a shot from 18 yards out that Talavera had no trouble stopping.
Then, just five minutes after the halftime break, more terrible marking by El Tri allowed Brozek to calmly receive a long ball behind the back four and dish a pass out to an unmarked Mierzejewski. With just Talavera to beat, though, Mierzejewski directed a weak shot right at the ‘keeper.
Match action cooled down but tempers flared up in the 70th minute after Moreno and Obraniak got into a little wrestling match that resulted in the ejection of the Polish midfielder.
Despite their one-man advantage, El Tri were unable to find the winner.
Mexico’s best chance of the second half came off a deflection in the 81st minute. Pablo Barrera created enough space just outside the 18-yard box to unleash a shot. His attempt, however, was deflected high and towards the net and Poland ‘keeper Przemyslaw Tyton was forced to backtrack and dive to push the ball over his crossbar.
Mexico now get a day’s rest before they go on to face Chile in Barcelona, Spain, on Sept. 4 in their second FIFA fixture.
Poland, meanwhile, remain in the country but travel over to Gdansk to take on Germany on Sept. 6.
POL – Pawel Brozek, 27’
MEX – Javier Hernández, 35’
POL – Patryk Malecki, 57’
POL – Ludovic Obraniak, 70’
MEX – Carlos Salcido, 73’
MEX – Héctor Moreno, 90’
Poland — Przemyslaw Tyton; Jakub Wawrzyniak, Tomasz Jodlowiec (Janusz Gol, 90’), Arkadiusz Glowacki, Marcin Wasilewski; Ludovic Obraniak, Darius Dudka, Adam Matuszczyk (Kamil Glik, 71’), Jakub Blaszczykowski (Patryk Malecki, 46’); Adrian Mierzejewski (Maciej Rybus, 67’), Pawel Brozek (Slawomir Peszko, 83’)
Mexico — Alfredo Talavera; Carlos Salcido, Francisco Rodríguez, Héctor Moreno, Efraín Juárez (Sergio Pérez, 75’); Andrés Guardado, Gerardo Torrado, Jesús Molina (Israel Castro, 81’), Pablo Barrera; Antonio Naelson (Giovani dos Santos, 65’), Javier Hernández (Aldo de Nigris, 46’)