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  • 2 August 2012
  • • 02:00
  • • Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (Caerdydd)
  • Referee: R. Irmatov
  • • Attendance: 50000

Mexico 1-0 Switzerland: Peralta strike seals top spot in Group B

Mexico 1-0 Switzerland: Peralta strike seals top spot in Group B

Julian Finney

The Santos Laguna striker's goal condemned Pierluigi Tami's men to an early exit while securing his side's passage to the next stage

Mexico have qualified for the quarter-final stage of the Olympic Football beating Switzerland 1-0 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The Swiss began the game on the front foot knowing only a win would see them qualify for the next stage but failed to make their early pressure pay. Mexico actually had the best chance at the end of the first period but Giovanni dos Santos failed to convert.

Mexico responded significantly in the second half attacking the Swiss back-line with pace and vigour on numerous occasions in the opening twenty minutes and unlike their opponents in the first half made their possession tell through a decisive 69 minute goal from Oscar Peralta.

El Tricolor continued to attack with the Swiss offering little resistance or attacking potency themselves and the score ultimately remained the same condemning Switzerland to an early exit, with Mexico progressing as group winners.

As expected, Dos Santos made his first start of the tournament following his two goals against Gabon, as replacement for midfielder Herrera as El Tricolor looked to bolster their attacking options. The only other change from the win against Gabon came in the form of Jorge Enriquez starting in place of Miguel Ponce.

Pierluigi Tami replaced expelled Michel Morganella with Brescia full-back Fabio Deprela, while Fulham midfielder Pajtim Kasami was preferred to Oliver Buff who was available for selection again after serving a one game suspension.

Switzerland, aware only a win would see them qualify, were undoubtedly the aggressors in the opening stages capitalising on numerous slips and errors from a seemingly nervous Mexico back line.

Inevitably, the first clear opportunity of the match fell to the Swiss in the seventh minute as Innocent Emeghara latched onto a loose pass from Darvin Chavez, surged into the box only to see his effort dragged wide of the far post.

More lazy play by the Mexican midfield was once again nearly punished by Emeghara’s sharp capitalization but after slipping a pass into the path of Admir Mehmedi, a shot on goal was only prevented by a wonderful saving tackle by Nestor Vidrio.

Swiss pressure continued up until the 40 minute mark with Fabian Frei at the heart of his sides best work. On 27 minutes the Basel midfielder neatly dribbled his way into the Mexican penalty area only to produce a tame effort on goal.

Three minutes later and he was involved again laying a cushioned pass to Mehmedi on the edge of the 18 yard box, but Corona was equal to the striker’s low placed effort.

Emeghara also continued to look sharp and after 40 minutes found space in the area following an intelligent pass from Steven Zuber, but struck his shot wildly wide.

After being under pressure for the majority of the first half, Mexico were presented with the best chance of it on 43 minutes as Dos Santos skilfully turned his man on the edge of the area, but drove his shot straight at Diego Benaglio.

Giovanni came close with the last action of the opening 45 minutes curling a twenty-five yard free-kick over the wall and just wide of the post, after Aquino was crudely fouled by Francois Affolter.

In stark contrast to the first-half, Luis Tena’s man started the second period firmly on the front foot. Two minutes after the restart a long forward ball dropped to Peralta on the edge of the area, but his subsequent shot failed to stretch Benaglio.

The No. 9 did not have to wait long for another opportunity as Dos Santos slipped him down in the left hand side of the penalty area before Peralta cut inside and fired a shot into the side-netting.
The Santos Laguna front man was involved again on 68 minutes, skilfully holding up veteran left back Salcido’s pass into the box before providing a lay off for the onrushing Enriquez who blasted his twenty yard effort wide of the post.

Peralta's second half endeavours were finally rewarded just a minute later. A neat flick pass to Dos Santos was followed by a scrambled return ball which was calmly dispatched to Benaglio’s right and into the Swiss net.

The goal boosted the Mexican's confidence as they began to look composed in possession with Tami's side's only meaningful response coming in the form of a mildly threatening corner on 77 minutes.

On the other hand, El Tricolor continued to surge forward with Aquino curling a shot just round the post on 79 minutes after an assertive dart in-field from the left.

Second-half substitute Israel Jimenez nearly extended his sides lead in spectacular fashion after 84 minutes, but his powerful, dipping shot was tipped over the bar by Benaglio.

Despite needing a win to qualify Switzerland continued to offer little in terms of goal threat and it was Peralta again who nearly doubled the scoring on 88 minutes, after coming close to following up Benaglio's save from a fierce Raul Jimenez shot.