Oribe Peralta (#19) scored two goals in Mexico's 4-1 win over Ivory Coast in an international friendly on August 14, 2013, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Olympic gold-medal goal hero Oribe Peralta scored twice in the opening half to lead Mexico to a 4-1 win over Ivory Coast in an international friendly at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday.
The Mexicans took advantage of a pair of Ivory Coast mistakes, including an own-goal, before a crowd of 35,671. Midfielder Angel Reyna, the top scorer in the Liga MX Apertura, added a late goal for El Tri. Second-half substitute Didier Drogba accounted for Ivory Coast's lone tally via a penalty kick.
Mexico enjoyed a substantial advantage in ball possession and scoring opportunities in the opening half.
Giovani dos Santos had the first two chances, firing wide right with the match only 94 seconds old and forcing goalkeeper Barry Boubacar to make a two-handed save of his attempt in the fifth minute.
The Tricolor finally cashed in in the 10th minute with aid from the Africans. Reyna crossed from the left flank into the area for Peralta. The Santos forward tried to shoot, but the ball went to Ivory Coast defender Arthur Boka, who tapped it into his own net while trying to clear it over the end line.
Yet another Ivory Coast error helped Mexico double its advantage in the 28th minute. With dos Santos applying heavy pressure, midfielder Jean-Jaques Gosso sent an errant backpass toward his goal. An alert Perlata quickly pounced and slipped it past Boubacar.
Ivory Coast finally placed a shot on net in the 34th minute, when forward Wilfried Bony headed the ball straight to goalkeeper Jesus Corona.
Corona's next save was not as routine as he challenged an onrushing Mathis Bolly and blocked his attempt on the left side of the penalty area to force a corner kick in the 41st minute.
The Mexicans did not need any help on their third goal one minute into first-half stoppage time. Reyna passed to an onrushing dos Santos on the right flank. The Villarreal forward crossed the ball to Peralta, who headed it home from six yards.
The Africans pulled one back in the 62nd minute on a Drogba penalty kick. Referee David Gantar awarded the penalty after he judged Drogba’s initial free kick hit Gerardo Torrado in the arm. The former Chelsea man made buried the ensuing attempt from into the lower left corner to slice the lead to 3-1.
Drogba tried to turn playmaker in the 80th minute, placing a perfect pass to second-half sub Gervinho in front of the net. The new Roma signee headed the ball at goal, but Corona was there to deny the effort.
Reyna closed out the scoring, finding the back of the net in the 90th minute.
The game was Mexico's only match prior to a pair of vital World Cup qualifiers next month. El Tri hosts Honduras at Azteca Stadium on September 6, before visiting the United States four days later.
NOTES: Mexico’s winning margin of three goals was its largest of 2013…Mexico has won three of its last four games…The four goals scored by Mexico was its highest total of the year after scoring no more than two goals in any 2013 match.