Mexico's Oribe Peralta (#19) raises his arms during a friendly against Finland on October 30, 2013, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – The Miguel Herrera era as head coach of Mexico officially started with a 4-2 victory over Finland on Wednesday at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.
Rafael Marquez, Carlos Peña, Oribe Peralta and Jesus Escoboza all scored in a winning effort.
The Tricolor struck first in the 11th minute thanks to a Marquez header. Luis Montes’ free kick came into the area and the veteran Leon defender obliged by nodding home.
Herrera’s team kept up the pressure and doubled its advantage in the 24th minute. Peralta fed Peña in the area, allowing the Leon midfielder an easy finish.
Finland responded four minutes later with a goal of its own. A Jarkko Hurme effort from outside the area slammed into the back of Mexican goalkeeper Moises Muñoz’s net to halve the deficit.
Just a minute after the break, Mexico regained its two-goal cushion courtesy of Peralta. The Santos forward’s attempt from distance was deflected off a Finnish player and ended up beating visiting goalkeeper Henri Sillanpää.
As it had done earlier in the encounter, Finland replied with another tally. In the 55th minute, after dispossessing a Mexican player, Tim Varyrynen centered a pass for Erfan Zeneli. The ball bounced inadvertently off Mexico’s Juan Carlos Valenzuela and into the net for an own-goal.
Escoboza closed the Mexican goal account in the 64th minute, beating Sillanpää with a left footer off a nice from Peralta.
Mexico will maintain its focus on next month’s two-legged Intercontinental Playoff against New Zealand. The first leg will be played on November 13 in Mexico, followed by the return match one week later in Wellington.