Mexico survive scare to edge past New Zealand
FIFA Confederations Cup Group A, Fisht Stadium - Mexico 2 (Jimenez 54, Peralta 72) New Zealand 1 (Wood 42)
Mexico survived a scare as they came from behind to beat a plucky New Zealand side 2-1 in an entertaining Group A clash in Sochi.
Second half goals from Raul Jimenez and Oribe Peralta kept El Tri on course for the semi finals after Leeds United striker, Chris Wood had given the Kiwis a shock interval lead.
The Mexicans had been second best for much of the first period, but in the end they did enough to ensure coach Juan Carlos Osorio's decision to make eight changes to his line-up didn't backfire.
New Zealand had a number of clear-cut chances with Wood guilty of failing to double their lead just prior to the equaliser, while Ryan Thomas came close to rescuing a point with a late shot that cannoned back off the crossbar.
The result means Mexico are top of Group A with four points, ahead of Portugal on goals scored. They will book a place in the last four if they avoid defeat against hosts Russia at the Kazan Arena on Saturday. New Zealand are out as their search for that elusive first win in this tournament continues.
Chris Wood (R) celebrates after scoring past Mexico's goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between Mexico and New ZealandGetty Images
VAR continues to glitch. It looked like being a match without the need of VAR - until injury time. Cue mayhem as a nasty challenge from Michael Boxall went unpunished and players on both sides got the handbags out. The lengthy delay was met by bemusement and just one yellow card. It's going to need to some serious refining if it is going to work.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Javier Aquino (Mexico). Grew in influence as the match wore on. Continually had the beating of his man on the left and carved out some glorious chances for his teammates.
NEW ZEALAND: Marinovic 6, Wynne 7, Boxall 6, Ingham 6, Durante 6, McGlinchey 6, Thomas 7, Lewis 7, Smith 7, Rojas 7, Wood 6. Subs: Tuiloma 6, Barbarouses 6, Patterson n/a.
14' - MEXICO CHANCE. Aquino motors down the left and produces a lovely cross for Dos Santos who heads wide. He seemed to pull out of the attempt in fear of a stray boot. A bit more bravery and he may well have scored.
27' - NEW ZEALAND CHANCE. Wood is presented with a clear sight of goal from 18 yards but is far too casual as he hits a tame low shot that Talavera does well to push to safety.
42' - GOAL! Mexico 0-1 New Zealand. Wood puts the Kiwis ahead! The Leeds striker latches onto Clayton Lewis' delightful through pass and ruthlessly flashes it into the corner.
53' - NEW ZEALAND CHANCE. Wood tries to round Talavera after easily breaking a poor excuse for an offside trap, but the keeper comes to Mexico's rescue once more.
54' - GOAL! Mexico 1-1 New Zealand. Raul Jimenez turns superbly before rifling a shot from the edge of the box into the far corner.
72' - GOAL! Mexico 2-1 New Zealand. Mexico lead! Peralta arrives at the near post to fire a first-time finish into the net from Aquino's cut back from the left.
85' - NEW ZEALAND HIT THE BAR! Thomas takes pass on the left edge of the box and curls a delightful effort towards the corner that crashes back off the woodwork!
89' - OFF THE LINE! Smith keeps out Jimenez's shot with a super block after Aquino had caused havoc on the left once more.
Wood became the fifth player ever to score 20+ goals for New Zealand.
New Zealand scored their first goal at the Confederations Cup since 2003, ending a goalless run of five matches.
New Zealand have now extended their record of 11 games without a win at the Confederations Cup.
At 38 years and four months, Rafael Marquez became the second-oldest player in Confederations Cup history.
Márquez made his first appearance at the tournament since 2005, setting new record for most years between consecutive matches (12).