Mexico ended a disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-1 loss to Canada in Edmonton, as the hosts moved up to the top of the CONCACAF table.
It was Mexico’s second loss in a row after losing 2-0 to the United States last Friday in Cincinnati, with: the three dropped to third in the table behind second-place USMNT.
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Leading up to Tuesday at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, the focus shifted from the usual discussion of tactics and formation choices to the weather in Canada’s Alberta province. The flurries of snow cleared Tuesday afternoon, but the game was still played in frigid conditions, with temperatures dropping to -10 degrees Fahrenheit on the opening whistle.
Although the expected snow was not present during the game, conditions on the grass pitch were poor. Gridiron lines were also visible on the field that primarily serves as the home of the Canadian Football League team Edmonton Elks.
“As is customary for all matches, according to the rules of the game, the referee determines whether the field is playable,” CONCACAF spokesman Nicholas Noble wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “This happens as a matter of course.” ‘
Like Friday’s game against the USMNT, Mexico’s early press caused problems for the Canadians, although breakaways on offense by Hirving Lozano and Raul Jimenez didn’t end in clear opportunities for the Canadians. the three.
Despite the early lack of offensive production, Mexico’s five-man backline was initially able to hold back Canadian duo Alphonso Davies and Tajon Buchanan. Nevertheless, Mexico’s own mistakes were doomed – this time before the first half ended. After Mexico’s Orbelin Pineda turned the ball around in his own half, Alistair Johnston tested Guillermo Ochoa from outside the penalty area. Ochoa parried the shot towards Cyle Larin, who cleared the first goal of the game.
In the second half, a listless Mexico saw Canada increase the pressure from the whistle, creating several chances on Ochoa’s goal. In the 51st minute, a free kick by Stephen Eustaquio found Larin’s right foot in the six-yard box, with Ochoa just a spectator. It was Larin’s 22nd goal for the Canada national team since his 2014 debut, and his fourth multiple goal with The Red one.
A late goal from Hector Herrera put the three on the board and gave them fleeting hopes as the Atletico Madrid midfielder put his head to a ball that was put in by sub Jesus Corona in the second half.
During stoppage time, Mexico tried to work their way to a draw but was sent off a couple of times by goalkeeper Milan Borjan. Jesus Sanchez had the best chance when the ball shot towards his chest a few centimeters from the goal. Borjan was able to make a dramatic save on the goal line and secure the win.
For Mexico, their second consecutive defeat in qualifying meant a further drop in the CONCACAF standings, remaining around fourth for now thanks to their superior goal difference over Panama.
Mexico has taken just two wins in their last six official games, scoring six times and conceding the same number. They return to action on December 8 in a friendly against Chile in Austin, Texas, before World Cup qualifiers get underway again in January.
On the other hand, Canada took a huge step towards qualifying for their first World Cup since 1986. Sitting atop the qualifying group with 16 points, they extended their undefeated streak to eight games. Canada has not lost an official game since July, when they dropped the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals to Mexico.