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Argentina v Mexico Live Commentary, 27/11/22

FT
2 - 0
ARG
MEX
L. Messi (64)
E. Fernández (87)
Lusail Iconic Stadium

Commentary

That concludes our commentary of the World Cup group C fixture between Argentina and Mexico! We hope you’ve enjoyed it!
Argentina wrap up the group stage on Wednesday against Poland, when Mexico play Saudi Arabia.
It may not have been a memorable performance, but Argentina get the win they needed, beating Mexico 2-0 at the Lusail Stadium to keep their hopes of qualification alive. As is so often the case, Messi proved to be the difference after a first half in which his side failed to hit the target. His goal from 25 yards out midway through the second half sneaked into the bottom corner to give the Albiceleste the lead and he would turn provider 23 minutes later, setting Fernandez up for a wonderful second. Mexico were determined but lacked quality in the final third, with the result dropping them to the bottom of the section, while Argentina climb into second.
90' + 7' FULL-TIME: ARGENTINA 2-0 MEXICO.
90' + 5' Jimenez attempts to centre a pass across for Herrera but a sliding Lisandro Martinez intercepts the connection and puts the ball out for a throw.
90' + 3' Play is stopped momentarily for Acuna, who seems to be suffering from a bit of cramp. Lisandro Martinez is across quickly to help his team-mate out as the seconds tick off the clock.
90' + 1' The fourth official indicates six minutes will be added to the end of the match for stoppages.
R. Alvarado
Yellow Card
Mexico
89' A cynical challenge on Otamendi from Alvarado earns the Mexico substitute a yellow card.
L. Messi
Assist
Argentina
87' Messi displays his ability to score and create, setting Fernandez up for Argentina's second goal.
E. Fernández
Goal
Argentina
87' WHAT A GOAL! 2-0 ARGENTINA! It’s a sublime strike from Fernandez, who receives a pass from Messi following a short-corner routine and executes a couple of stepovers ahead of Gutierrez before dispatching a curling effort into the top corner!
85' Acuna looks to take on Araujo and fails to get past him but the full-back does earn a corner-kick for his efforts.
83' Argentina have beaten Mexico in all three of their World Cup meetings, with a 6-3 win in 1930 followed up with an extra-time victory in 2006 and a 3-1 result in 2010.
81' Chavez swings a free-kick into the penalty area where it’s met by the head of Otamendi, who pops it up to the far edge of the box. Moreno gets underneath the flight of the ball and prods it back towards the goalkeeper but Emiliano Martinez makes the clean catch.
79' Herrera takes Palacios' legs out from underneath him in front of the referee, giving away a free-kick but avoiding a second yellow card.
77' Julian Alvarez charges into the penalty area all alone but opts to cut a pass back to Messi instead of firing a shot at Ochoa, which allows Montes and Araujo to get back in place to make an interception.
75' Mexico finally get a chance to clear their lines after Chavez is brought down just inside his own half, ending an extended spell of Argentina possession.
R. Alvarado
H. Lozano
Mexico
73' Lozano's match comes to an end, brought off for Alvarado as we approach the final quarter-hour.
71' Argentina have not lost any of their last 10 matches against Mexico, with the Albiceleste on a run of three-straight clean sheets against El Tri.
C. Romero
Á. Di María
Argentina
69' A defensive swap for Scaloni sees Romero on for Di Maria.
E. Palacios
A. Mac Allister
Argentina
69' Palacios is sent on for Mac Allister with just over 20 minutes to go.
68' Antuna combines well with Jimenez to provide the former space to put in a cross but Otamendi turns it behind emphatically, before the flag goes up for offside.
R. Jiménez
K. Álvarez
Mexico
66' Wolves' Jimenez comes on for Kevin Alvarez to provide an additional attacking threat.
U. Antuna
A. Vega
Mexico
66' Vega is brought off after the goal, with Antuna his replacement.
H. Herrera
Yellow Card
Mexico
66' Herrera is shown a yellow card for tugging back Acuna in midfield.
Á. Di María
Assist
Argentina
64' Di Maria's bouncing pass to Messi from the right wing is credited as the assist!
L. Messi
Goal
Argentina
64' WHO ELSE BUT MESSI?! 1-0 ARGENTINA! Just when his side need it most, Messi pops up with a bit of magic, finding the bottom corner from 25 yards out with a crowd of bodies in the way!
J. Álvarez
L. Martínez
Argentina
63' Julian Alvarez is tasked with sparking his side into life, coming on for Lautaro Martinez.
N. Molina
G. Montiel
Argentina
63' Molina comes in for Montiel with Scaloni changing right-backs.
62' Mexico are finding it difficult to get up the pitch, with Argentina keeping their opponents pinned back. The lack of an option up the pitch to relieve the pressure is keeping Martino’s side on the defensive with just under 30 minutes left.
60' Vega swings the free-kick onto the edge of the six-yard box but a clever backwards header from Otamendi clears the danger.
59' Mexico earn a free-kick on the right wing following a clearance, after Lisandro Martinez is spotted with two hands on Vega in an attempt to stop him.
E. Fernández
G. Rodríguez
Argentina
57' Guido Rodriguez makes way for Fernandez three minutes before the hour.
56' Di Maria slips past Gallardo on the right flank but the wing-back does well to regain his position and force a pass back into the middle of the pitch. Messi gets onto it and looks to play a pass up and over for Acuna, who fails to read the intent and lets it go behind for a goal-kick.
54' Lautaro Martinez is forced back into his own half to help keep possession as Argentina struggle against the Mexico press. Martino’s side are looking to hit it long and pick up the second ball, with Vega and Lozano constantly hovering in anticipation of a mistake.
52' Messi gets the free-kick over the wall but it fails to dip back down, instead sailing high over the crossbar.
É. Gutiérrez
Yellow Card
Mexico
50' Gutierrez is shown a yellow card for a clumsy tackle on Messi 20 yards from goal - giving Argentina a real chance to test Ochoa.
50' A loose pass from Guido Rodriguez allows Vega to win possession outside Argentina’s penalty area but his pass to Lozano draws frustration from the Napoli striker, who wanted the ball played in behind the defence.
48' Lozano takes the ball towards Argentina's penalty area but without team-mates he decides to whack a shot towards goal, only to see it blocked at the outset by a retreating Otamendi.
46' Argentina get the match restarted from the kick-oiff!
Argentina will have to take the game to Mexico in the second half in pursuit of a crucial three points, forcing Scaloni’s hand somewhat. Di Maria has been ineffective in his role as forward, with Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez a potential spark from the bench. Messi has been kept quiet with the other creators unable to mark their mark, which could point to Gomez’s introduction. Mexico have fought valiantly and failed to give their opponents any rest but the lack of a true striker has been apparent; with someone like Funes Mori for Lozano to play off an option late in the game.
A hotly contested first half at the Lusail Stadium comes to a close with nothing to separate Argentina and Mexico. A lack of quality on the ball and evident nerves combined to limit chances at either end of the pitch, but there is no doubt all 22 players are keenly up for the battle. With 15 fouls committed but just one shot on target, both teams were unable to settle down and play with rhythm, with constant pressing in the midfield causing turnovers and cynical tackles.
45' + 6' HALF-TIME: ARGENTINA 0-0 MEXICO.
45' + 4' Martino - Mexico’s coach - was born in Argentina and coached Messi at both club and international level between 2013 and 2016.
45' + 2' The fourth official indicates five minutes will be added to the end of the half for stoppages.
45' GREAT STOP! Vega steps up and hits an accurate free-kick up and over the wall but a leaping Emiliano Martinez makes the ball stick to his gloves!
G. Montiel
Yellow Card
Argentina
43' Montiel leaves his foot in cynically and takes Gutierrez down. The full-back is shown a yellow card as Mexico are given a free-kick late in the half.
É. Gutiérrez
A. Guardado
Mexico
42' Guardado - who missed Mexico's first match due to a knock - is replaced with three minutes left in the half. Gutierrez comes on in his stead.
40' Argentina produce their best chance of the half with Messi playing a corner short to Di Maria. The Juventus takes the space afforded to him to whip a cross into the penalty area but Lautaro Martinez’s touch takes the ball up and over the crossbar.
38' Araujo steps forward into Argentina’s half and looks to thread a pass through the midfield and defence for Lozano but the Napoli forward fails to read his team-mate’s intentions as the ball is allowed to roll behind for a goal-kick.
36' Messi puts the free-kick right onto Ochoa’s line, with the goalkeeper putting in a slightly ineffective two-handed punch to send the ball straight up into the air. The veteran shot-stopper gets into a tussle with Lisandro Martinez and goes over, winning a free-kick to clear his lines.
34' De Paul wins the ball back just outside the penalty area and drives to the wing looking to put in a cross where he’s scythed down by Vega’s tackle. It’s a free-kick for the Albiceleste in a great position to get Otamendi involved.
32' Messi takes Argentina’s first corner of the match towards the near post but Araujo and Montes combine to clear the initial danger.
30' Lozano clatters into Mac Allister and sends him to the ground in a heap just inside Mexico’s half. It’s a deep free-kick for Scaloni’s side, who get play restarted quickly.
28' Kevin Alvarez slides in near the corner flag to block Acuna’s cross, with the full-back faking his delivery and carrying the ball forward, unknowingly stepping on the calf of his opponent in the process. Play is stopped momentarily for the injured defender, who needs a moment to gather himself.
26' Argentina are dominating possession in the early stages of the match but do not have a shot to show for it yet, with Ochoa a spectator. Scaloni’s side have looked nervy at times and could do with creating a chance to calm them down.
24' Montiel teases a cross to the far post after a good bit of build-up play from the Albiceleste but he sends his delivery over the crossbar, with the referee’s whistle for offside saving the blushes of the full-back.
N. Araújo
Yellow Card
Mexico
22' Araujo lunges into a tackle with his foot raised, catching Acuna on the ankle. It’s a yellow card for the defender - the first of the match.
21' The free-kick routine fails to come off as Guardado takes it short to Chavez, whose first-time cross into the penalty area towards Herrera is caught by Emiliano Martinez.
19' Lozano wins a free-kick ahead of Otamendi, who has been very involved early in the match. With the forward driving towards goal it’s a cynical challenge from the Benfica centre-back, though he escapes a card.
17' Lautaro Martinez bundles into Herrera during an attempt to corral the ball and gives away a free-kick 30 yards away from Mexico’s goal.
15' Lozano is allowed to win the ball back near Argentina’s penalty area after another bit of sloppy play but Otamendi is there to win possession back in the nick of time with a typically strong challenge.
13' Guardado and De Paul both leap into a sliding challenge, thumping into each other near the touchline in front of the technical areas. This match is being played with a fierce intensity, with both sides refusing to go down lightly.
11' CHANCE! Vega is used as a decoy with Chavez putting a free-kick from the left wing into a dangerous area inside the 18-yard box. Herrera manages to get his studs to the ball but he puts it just wide of the far post!
9' A corner-kick routine for Mexico fails to come off as the delivery from the right is drilled right into the foot of Messi on the edge of the area.
7' A heavy touch inside his own half from De Paul immediately puts Argentina under pressure but Vega’s centring pass to the penalty spot is whacked away by Lisandro Martinez.
5' Vega bursts forward on a counter-attack, leaving Montiel in his wake but the referee blows his whistle for an elbow in the face of the grounded right-back, who wins his side a free-kick for his troubles.
3' Acuna gets forward and looks to play a cross deep into the penalty area from the left but Moreno reads the danger and repels it swiftly.
1' Mexico get the match underway from the kick-off!
Mexico make three changes to the XI that earned a 0-0 draw with Poland. Araujo and Kevin Alvarez come in for Herrera and Edson Alvarez, while a change of shape allows Guardado to play ahead of Martin.
Argentina make five changes from their 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia last time out. Only Otamendi keeps his place in defence with Montiel, Lisandro Martinez and Acuna replacing Molina, Romero and Tagliafico respectively. Guido Rodriguez starts ahead of Paredes in midfield and Mac Allister is in for Gomez.
MEXICO SUBS: Alfredo Talavera, Rodolfo Cota, Johan Vasquez, Gerardo Arteaga, Jorge Sanchez, Edson Alvarez, Luis Romo, Carlos Rodriguez, Erick Gutierrez, Orbelin Pineda, Raul Jimenez, Rogelio Funes Mori, Henry Martin, Uriel Antuna, Roberto Alvarado.
MEXICO XI (5-3-2): Guillermo Ochoa; Jesus Gallardo, Cesar Montes, Hector Moreno, Nestor Araujo, Kevin Alvarez; Luis Chavez, Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera; Alexis Vega, Hirving Lozano.
ARGENTINA SUBS: Franco Armani, Geronimo Rulli, Juan Foyth, Nicolas Tagliafico, German Pezzella, Cristian Romero, Nahuel Molina, Leandro Paredes, Exequiel Palacios, Thiago Almada, Paulo Dybala, Enzo Fernandez, Julian Alvarez, Angel Correa, Alejandro Gomez.
ARGENTINA XI (4-3-1-2): Emiliano Martinez; Gonzalo Montiel, Lisandro Martinez, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Acuna; Rodrigo De Paul, Guido Rodriguez, Alexis Mac Allister; Lionel Messi; Angel Di Maria, Lautaro Martinez.
With 15 minutes to go before kick-off, let's take a look at how the two sides are lining up - starting with Argentina!
Mexico earned a 0-0 draw with Poland in their opener, thanks largely to the heroics of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who is featuring in his fifth World Cup. Looking to repeat their feat of 2018 - beating Germany on matchday two - a win over the Albiceleste would give Tata Martino’s side a chance of qualifying as group winners on the final day.
The shock of the tournament thus far saw Argentina lose 2-1 to Saudi Arabia, which leaves Lionel Scaloni’s side rooted to the bottom of the table ahead of their meeting with Mexico. A defeat today would eliminate the Albiceleste, though they hold the upper hand in recent meetings with El Tri - winning seven out of their last eight fixtures including victories in the 2006 and 2010 World Cup.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE commentary of the World Cup group C fixture between Argentina and Mexico!