Mexico Falls To El Salvador, 2-1

The debut of coach Javier Aguirre would not prove to be a win, or even a draw for El Tri.

As the World Cup qualifiers progressed, Mexico has gotten more nervous with every game. The nerves increased on Saturday as El Tri once more fell in an away game. This time El Salvador earned three points, beating Mexico 2-1 at the Cuscatlan Stadium.

New coach Javier Aguirre didn’t live up to the hyped expectations, and the Salvadorians have lived out their popularized saying of “Al mundial no vamos, pero a Mexico ganamos (To the World Cup we won’t go, but we’ll beat Mexico.”  

First Half

Mexico started out well in the game. Fernando Arce sent in a cross to Andres Guardado from the right during the 5th minute. Guardado headed over the Salvadorian defense, but goalkeeper Miguel Angel Montes managed to control the ball.  

Soon in the 7th minute Mexico had another shot. Guillermo Franco sent in a cross for Fernando Arce. Arce was left all alone up front and tried to chip the ball over Montes, but his shot went over the cross bar.  

However, it was El Salvador who scored the first goal. In the 11th minute Rodolfo Zelaya managed to save a loose ball from going out. He then weaved past Gerardo Torrado, left Ricardo Osorio behind, and passed to Julio Martinez. Martinez then shot and left two Mexican players on the ground as he put El Salvador ahead 1-0.  

In the 25th minute Mexico came close. Nery Castillo combined with Arce, who sent in a strong shot. Montes barely managed to punch out the ball, but had trouble and left it in a dangerous zone. No Mexican player was there to take advantage and push the ball in.  

It was El Salvador who had the next good chance. In the 26th minute ‘Conejo’ Perez came trying to control a cross, but it slipped past his hands. The ball kept on going towards the net, but Aaron Galindo rushed to the back and took care of the problem.  

During a corner kick, Alfredo Pacheco and Guillermo Franco took the physical aspect of the game to new heights. Both players started shoving and it was Pacheco who threw out his hand across Franco’s neck. Franco retaliated and threw out a punch at eye level, drawing blood from the Salvadorian.  

Second Half

Coming back for the second half, it was El Salvador who took advantage. In the 50th minute Zelaya weaved through the Mexican defense, coming close for a second goal.  

Soon after, it was again El Salvador who came close. In the 52nd minute Pacheco took a free kick from outside the area. ‘Conejo’ controlled the ball that went near the left post.  

Then Mexico equalized in the 70th minute. Guillermo Franco went in to the penalty area, but Manuel Salazar brought the player down. Cuauhtémoc Blanco stepped up to take the spot kick and shot it to the right, sending Montes the wrong way to put Mexico on level terms.  

In the 75th minute El Salvador came close once again. Castillo sent in a cross to Rodolfo Zelaya who rose up against the Mexican defense and headed to ‘Conejo’s’ hands.  

Back came Mexico with another close chance. In the 77th minute Oscar Rojas let go a powerful shot, but it went wide of the goal.  

As the game was coming to a close. El Salvador was awarded a penalty. In the 84th minute Julio Martinez went up the right side, and as he tried to send in the cross Oscar Rojas got in the way. His hand blocked the ball, and the penalty was given. Eliseo Quintanilla stepped up to take it. The ball beat ‘Conejo’ and El Salvador went up 2-1.  

Mexico kept on fighting. In  the 88th minute Franco and Blanco combined. Blanco went in one on one against the ‘keeper and sent the ball rolling towards the goal. No Salvadorian defender managed to get to the ball as it went in to make the score 2-2. However, the goal was disallowed as the assistant referee called the play offsides.  

Now Mexico sits in 5th place of the hexagonal table with three points and will face Trinidad and Tobago on June 10th. El Salvador jumped to third place of the table with 5 points and will face Honduras during the week as well.

Andrea Martinez,