Mexico recorded a 2-1 victory over Nigeria in Sunday’s international friendly played at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, United States of America.
Santiago Gimenez’s first-half strike and William Troost-Ekong’s own goal handed El Tri victory, with Cyriel Dessers netting the Super Eagles’ only goal.
Despite playing against a depleted team, following the absence of key players like Ahmed Musa, Maduka Okoye, Leon Balogun, and Samuel Chukwueze due to contrasting reasons, Jose Peseiro’s men showed some flashes of brilliance.
However, it was the North Americans who enjoyed a period of ball possession as they exchanged passes and probed the West Africans’ backline.
That persistence paid off in the 12th minute. With Nigeria's defence failing to deal with Jesus Gallardo’s cross, Gimenez put the ball past goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
Buoyed by that lead, Mexico – who were fuelled by their loud fans - continued to probe for more goals, but the defensive pair of Chidozie Awaziem and Calvin Bassey did well to deal with their scoring opportunities.
Nigeria could have gone into the half-time break two goals down, but Uzoho was well positioned to deny Andres Guardado.
Nigeria failed to muster a single shot on goal before referee Jose Torres brought the first 45 minutes to a close.
Nigeria had a bit of relief in the 54th-minute when Dessers levelled matters for the three-time African kings. Goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota goofed a Bassey cross, and the Feyenoord man was well-positioned to poke home.
Two minutes later, Gerardo Martino’s El Tri restored their lead after Troost-Ekong put the ball into his own net while trying to clear Gallardo’s shot.
Despite numerous substitutions made by Nigeria, they could not level matters as the 11-time Concacaf Gold Cup winners reigned supreme.
The Super Eagles – who will not be featuring at the 2022 World Cup Qatar – face Ecuador on June 2 in New Jersey before returning home to commence preparations for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Mexico continue their build-up to Qatar with friendly matches against Uruguay and Ecuador on June 3 and 6, respectively.
The North Africans have been zoned against Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Poland in Group C.