U20WC: Mexico tops Vanuatu on late Alvarez goal

Edson Alvarez (center) celebrates after scoring to give Mexico a win over Vanuatu in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea on May 20, 2017, in Daejeon, Korea Republic. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

DAEJON, Korea – After having a two-goal lead slip away, Edson Alvarez scored late to give Mexico a 3-2 win over Vanuatu in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup opener for each team on Saturday at Daejon World Cup Stadium.

The Tricolor sits second on goal difference in Group A, after Venezuela topped Germany, 2-0, earlier in the day.

Despite owning a 25-11 advantage in shots attempted, Mexico was made to work hard by debutant Vanuatu, which qualified by finishing as runner-up to New Zealand in the 2016 Oceania Football Confederation U-20 Championship.

A pair of goalkeeping miscues by Daniel Alick gave the Mexicans a 2-0 lead before 25 minutes had elapsed.

Kevin Magaña struck first as his 10th-minute header went off Alick’s hands and inside the left post.

In the 25th minute, Alick spilled a right-sided cross into the path of Ronaldo Cisneros, who slotted home easily from four-yards out.

Vanuatu rallied in the second half to equalize.  Bong Kalo halved the deficit in 52nd minute thanks a splendid pass from Ronaldo Wilkins, who leveled with a left-footed shot from 22 yards 10 minutes later.

Mexico kept pounding away and was rewarded for its persistence in the fourth minute of stoppage time, when Kevin Lara’s cross from the right found Alvarez alone in the box.  The Club America defender had time to take a controlling touch 12 yards from goal, before striking into the right side of the net.

Next up for Mexico: Tuesday, May 23 v Germany