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Mexico used their experience to defeat the Republic of Ireland 3-1 in an international friendly matchup Thursday night in front of 42,017 soccer fans at MetLife Stadium.

Team Mexico would strike early in the first half, as Jesus Corona would work his way through Daryl Horgan and Richard Keogh in front of the net and unleash a beautiful kick over goalkeeper Darren Randolph to give Mexico a 1-0 lead (17’). A few minutes later, Mexico was awarded a penalty kick after a tripping call on Ireland captain James McClean during an ensuing Mexico breakaway by Jorge Hernandez and Carlos Vela. Raul Jimenez would take advantage on the penalty kick, getting the ball past Randolph’s right side, extending their lead to 2-0 (25’). In the second half, Mexico would put the proverbial dagger in the heart of Ireland, as forward Oribe Peralta created havoc in front of the net, and executed a pass to Vela, standing alone with a wide open net to tap the ball in and give Mexico the 3-0 lead (54’). Ireland was able to get a late goal from Stephen Gleeson (77’), who connected on a cross kick attempt from McClean in front of the net past Mexico goaltender Rodolfo Cota, but that was all they were able to get against a powerful Mexican squad.

“I think [the past two] games, to have two very good, competitive games could well put in perspective qualification for the World Cup,” said Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio of Thursday’s matchup against Ireland and against Croatia on May 27. “Hopefully we can repeat both performances…”

“First of all, I was delighted with the game,” said Ireland manager Martin O’Neill. “Secondly, quite a number of players have not played football for quite a considerable amount of time.

Osorio used this matchup as a sort of tune-up before their Confederations Cup appearance later this summer. With how great Mexico played, this wasn’t even their best starting lineup that played Thursday night. Corona and Vela, who are not the focal points of the team, broke out on Thursday night, making a case to earn permanent spots. Now Osorio has the difficult task of cutting the roster down from 32 to 23.

“I think the players, they have the opportunity to represent Mexico in these [past] two games have put more pressure [on] the other players,” said Osorio. “I think it should be healthy competition for players on an international team, especially on the Mexican national team.”

One of the main storylines on the Mexican squad was the amount of playing time that team captain Rafael Marquez would receive. Marquez would enter and play in the final 24 minutes of the matchup, his first action since suffering a back injury on March 24 against Costa Rica. It is best to believe that Osorio will keep an eye on Marquez’s progress, especially with upcoming action in the next week.

“If he’s healthy, he can compete for that position on the team,” said Osorio. “…We think that, as well as he does, he still probably has one year to play at this level. I thought that [today] he showed that he’s getting close to his level and he will compete for that position…”

Ireland also did not have their best starting eleven playing Thursday night. However, don’t let the score fool you, Ireland were up there with Mexico in terms of shots. It was just a matter of Mexico being able to capitalize on their scoring opportunities. It was a great learning experience for the fringe players, as they are prepared for a World Cup qualifier against Austria on June 11.

“In terms of our preparation for the main game against Austria, I thought it was excellent,” said O’Neill. “Mexico were very good, they were good on the ball as befits a side like that.”

Mexico puts this victory in the books and move on, as they have World Cup qualifying matchups against Honduras (June 8) and the United States (June 11) in Estadio Azteca. After these two matchups, Mexico sets their focus on the Confederations Cup in Russia.

Statistics

Mexico

Ireland

Shots

15

14

Saves

4

5

Fouls

9

10

Corners

5

4

Offside

1

2

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Scott Rogust
General Editor and New York Giants Lead Writer.
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