Mexico 2, Venezuela 2: Ending The Year Without Style
Amidst all the unrest in the FMF headquarters and Juan Arango’s damned left foot, Mexico needed to work hard in order to earn a 2-2 draw against a Venezuela side that shouldn’t have been so hard to defeat when they were creating such few chances and were a man down for most of the match. Granted, it was a friendly and Mexico played under a manager that was only there as a caretaker, but for all the talent that was on the field, there is no excuse for Mexico to have to come from behind twice against an average opponent.
If you live in the US and watched the Univision feed, you probably don’t recall much of the match due to the 50/50 coverage of both the match and the Chilean miner rescue operation, which then turned to 25/75 in Noticiero Univision’s favor as they considered Chicharito’s first equalizer as a cue to minimize the game feed and remove its audio. It’s wonderful that the miners were rescued and all, but it was all over every other channel anyway, so couldn’t people just tune in somewhere else?
Ochoa (J. Corona 46′); I. Estrada (E. Hernandez 33′), F. Rodriguez, E. Duenas (J. Torres 62′), Salcido; dos Santos, Marquez, Rios (Magallon 46′), Barrera; Chicharito, J. Orozco (Esqueda 46′)
Juan Arango was probably the only reason that Venezuela even put up a fight. In the 6th minute, he scored a stunning free kick that caught Memo Ochoa off guard, and he was nowhere near close to stopping the shot. Soon after, Venezuela’s Gabriel Cichero got a red for an awful tackle on el Guti Estrada, who was carried off in a stretcher after taking the hit. In the 34th minute, Chicharito scored yet another goal from an Elias Hernandez cross, equalizing the score and giving Mexico new ground to make a comeback. Much to Memo Ochoa’s surprise, in the 40th minute Arango scored another beautiful free kick from almost the same position, catching Ochoa off guard yet again. Maybe Memo should stick to Allstate commercials and playing against fake Brazilians in Home Depot commercials, because after being scored on the first time, you don’t fall for the same trick again. Mexico left the pitch at halftime behind a sea of boo’s from the crowd, in one of their worst first half performances in a long time.
The first half picked up a little more, and it was in the 61st minute that Giovani dos Santos scored a killer goal from a tight angle to make the match 2-2. Now that he is reportedly looking for (another) exit from Tottenham, this is the way to raise his profile and to impress interested suiters. By the way, it looks like he’ll be going to Italy if the rumors are true. Mexico finally picked up their game and began creating more chances, one missed by Chicharito and another by Esqueda, but Venezuela did well to defend until the very end and their goalkeeper used his reflexes well. In the end, Maza got a red from two reckless tackles, and the game just finished.
It wasn’t great seeing Mexico get pegged back twice by set pieces and seeing them fail to find a way to take advantage of Venezuela’s missing man, and not enough chances were created. When you think about it, a draw to end the year isn’t so bad, especially since it was still an entertaining match. Just imagine if Mexico played a more difficult opponent: they would have lost again just like they did against Ecuador. It was an overall sad 2010 after a dismal World Cup and a pathetic four Bicentennial matches, but at least we’ll see a new and revitalized Mexico early next year. New jerseys, new manager, and hopefully a new mentality that hopefully won’t be interrupted by 3 managerial changes during the next World Cup cycle.
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