Mexico 1-0 Cameroon - Story of the match
STORY OF THE MATCH
The first half saw Mexico dominate possession with Cameroon content to sit deep and let them pass it around just inside the Cameroon half. The Cameroonians played with a back six for much of the half and struggled to get any kind of service or support to captain Samuel Eto’o up front. The Mexicans struggled with their final ball but were very comfortable in possession. The first half will mostly be remembered for the poor refereeing decisions that cost Mexico – more accurately, Giovani dos Santos – two goals. The Villarreal forward volleyed one in and put in a header from a corner but neither was given despite the Mexican being onside for the first and being set up by a Cameroon defender. Cameroon had a couple of chances too with Eto’o firing the best one into the post when he should have done better but it remained level at half time.
The second half was a far more midfield based battle with fewer chances created but these ones were much, much closer. Oribe Peralta was denied by Charles Itandje’s legs while a deflected Benoit Assou-Ekotto free kick had Mexican hearts in mouths around the hour mark. Mexico did eventually take the lead when Peralta slotted home after Itandje denied dos Santos and it was a deserved lead. The Mexicans kept the ball and defended well enough with only a late Benjamin Moukandjo header forcing Guillermo Ochoa into action. Javier Hernandez had a late chance to double the Mexican lead but he volleyed over yet they still left Natal with all three points after a very good performance.
11- OFFISDE. Throw in right, Herrera allowed time and space to cross for dos Santos who volleys into the roof of the net. Assistant calls offside incorrectly.
16- OFFSIDE. Assou-Ekotto corner right, Rodriguez heads clear, Chedjou heads it back into the area, Eto’o tees up Choupo-Moting who scores. Eto’o was coming back from an offside position.
21- CHANCE. Ball played out to Assou-Ekotto left, gets past Aguilar and Rodriguez before squaring it to Eto’o. Eto’o fires his effort off the near post and wide
23- SCRAMBLE. Assou-Ekotto corner right, Choupo-Moting header blocked, Eto’o tries to salvage something, Choupo-Moting shot blocked, Marquez clears
27- CHANCE. Guardado free kick right, Marquez heads wide taking the ball away from the better positioned Moreno behind him.
29- OFFSIDE. Layun corner left, flicks off Choupo-Moting’s head, dos Santos heads in from three or four yards out. Incorrect decision
48- CHANCE. Herrera plays it into dos Santos, touched through to Peralta, denied by Itandje’s legs
58- CHANCE. Mbia breaks at the heart of the defence and taken down by Moreno who goes into the book. Assou-Ekotto’s free kick is deflected by Vazquez in the wall and goes just past the post with Ochoa wrong footed
61- GOAL! 1-0 MEXICO! Herrera plays a 1-2 with Peralta, through ball to dos Santos who has yards of space but his shot is well saved by Itandje. Peralta is the first to react and slots home the rebound from 12 yards
82- CHANCE. dos Santos plays a ball through to Hernandez on the right of the box, low cross into the area, Nounkeu is able to just get ahead of Fabian and clear.
86- CHANCE. Eto’o through ball to Moukandjo in behind Layun on the right, low cross cleared by Rodriguez ahead of two lurking Cameroonians.
90+1- CHANCE. Ball worked to the left, Assou-Ekotto crosses, Moukandjo unmarked heads towards goal, Ochoa dives to his right and holds on well.
90+2- CHANCE. Moukandjo dispossessed on his own byline by Layun, crosses for unmarked Hernandez who volleys over from six yards.
Mexico: Ochoa, Aguilar, Moreno, Marquez (c), Rodriguez, Layun, Herrera (Salcido 90), Vazquez, Guardado (Fabian 69), dos Santos, Peralta (Hernandez 74)
Subs: Corona, Reyes, Jimenez, Pulido, Talavera, Ponce, Brizuela, Aquino, Pena
Cameroon: Itandje, Djeugoue (Nounkeu 45), N’Koulou, Chedjou, Assou-Ekotto, Song (Webo 79), Enoh, Mbia, Moukandjo, Eto’o (c), Choupo-Moting
Subs: Feudjou, N’Guemo, Aboubakar, Makoun, Bedimo, Olinga, Salli, Matip, Nyom, Ndjock
2. Francisco Rodriguez – 7
Solid at the back and helped keep Eto’o quiet while also being very solid on the ball too.
4. Rafael Marquez – 7
Lead by example and was excellent throughout. Made a number of important blocks and tackles while also being excellent on the ball
6. Hector Herrera – 8
Mexico’s best player in the centre of the park. Controlled the game with his passing and creativity, worked himself into the ground and had a big hand in the goal.
7. Miguel Layun – 7
Gave Djeugoue nightmares in the first half and was a constant outlet on the left. Kept working hard until the end but his final ball was mostly poor.
10. Giovani dos Santos – 9
Best player on the pitch. Cameroon couldn’t get near him and he was involved in everything positive and exciting about Mexico.
13. Guillermo Ochoa – 6
Nothing to do until the end when he kept out Moukandjo’s header well. Did everything asked of him without needing to be outstanding.
15. Hector Moreno – 7
Booked around the hour mark but was solid at the back and made a number of crucial tackles and blocks.
18. Andres Guardado – 6
Part of the midfield three and worked hard but was not great at retaining the ball at times. Replaced by Fabian.
19. Oribe Peralta – 8
Chosen ahead of Hernandez up front and justified that choice. Worked hard, caused the Cameroon defenders problems with his willingness to run the channels and in behind and deservedly got a goal.
22. Paul Aguilar – 7
Like Layun, an outlet on the right throughout the game. Suspect defensively at times but was mostly solid at the back.
23. Jose Juan Vazquez – 7
Neat and tidy in possession and anchored the Mexican midfield very well.
3. Carlos Salcido – 5
Brought on very late and didn’t even touch the ball.
8. Marco Fabian – 6
Brought on for Guardado and worked hard when others were tiring.
14. Javier Hernandez – 6
Lack of service to him but he worked hard. Should have scored in injury time.
2. Benoit Assou-Ekotto – 7
Cameroon’s best outfield player. Solid at the back and a danger when going forward. Set pieces were of a good quality as well.
3. Nicolas N’Koulou – 6
Made a number of good tackles and blocks but rarely marked any attacker closely.
4. Cedric Djeugoue – 5
Started at right back but struggled defensively. Very panicked and sloppy in possession. Hooked at half time for Nounkeu.
6. Alexandre Song – 6
Quietly went about anchoring midfield but often looked like giving it away and, on a few occasions, he did. Replaced late on by Webo.
8. Benjamin Moukandjo – 5
Spent most of his game at right back but was poor throughout. Offered little going forward despite a couple of nice touches.
9. Samuel Eto’o – 6
Showed in his quality in little bursts but lacked support throughout. Hit the post in the first half.
13. Maxim Choupo-Moting – 6
Pretty much a left back throughout, he had a couple of chances in the first half but never really offered too much going forward.
14. Aurelien Chedjou – 5
Posted missing for the Mexican goal and was regularly out of position. Very poor.
16. Charles Itandje – 7
Did everything well and kept Cameroon level in the second half. Solid.
17. Stephane Mbia – 6
Physically imposing but never really imposed himself on the game and allowed the Mexican midfield to pass around him.
18. Eyong Enoh – 6
Worked hard but never really offered much when in possession.
5. Dany Nounkeu – 6
Shored up the right hand side when he replaced Djeugoue but never really got forward to help.
15. Pierre Webo – 5
Late sub but never really got involved as Cameroon were looking for a goal.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Giovani dos Santos – Mexico
He had two goals incorrectly ruled out for offside in the first half and was a constant problem for Cameroon throughout. dos Santos was happy to drop deep and get involved or run in behind and worked really well with goalscorer Oribe Peralta throughout. He was central to everything that Mexico did and worked incredibly hard for the team too. An excellent performance.