Carlos Vela (white jersey) scored the only goal in Mexico's win over visiting Panama in an international friendly on October 13, 2015, in Toluca. (Photo: Mexsport)
TOLUCA, Mexico – Mexico made sure that the brief reign of interim head coach Ricardo Ferretti ended on a winning note as it defeated visiting Panama, 1-0, on Tuesday at the Estadio Nemesio Diez.
The victory came just three days after the Tricolor qualified for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup with a 3-2 extra-time triumph over the United States at the Rose Bowl.
Carlos Vela scored the game’s only goal in the 44th minute. Carlos Esquivel delivered a diagonal cross from the right side that bounced in the box and found Javier Aquino at the left-goal line. The Tigres midfielder passed quickly in front of the net, causing confusion in the suddenly imbalanced Panamanian defense and allowing Vela to turn it in from three-yards out.
Earlier in the half, Mexico goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera dove full stretch to his right to thwart Roberto Nurse’s right-footed effort from 24 yards.
Following a neat interchange with Israel Jimenez and Raul Jimenez, Vela almost struck again nine minutes into the second half, but his powerful blast was confined by goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
Talavera came up big again in the 84th minute, preventing Luis Tejada from netting the equalizer.
Both sides return to action on November 13 as they open CONCACAF qualifying campaigns for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the fourth round. Mexico will host Group A rival El Salvador, while Panama travels to Jamaica in Group C.
Ferretti went unbeaten in four games in charge of El Tri, posting wins over the U.S. and Panama, and notching draws with Trinidad & Tobago (3-3) and Argentina (2-2).
The Federación Mexicana de Fútbol is expected to announce officially a permanent head coach soon, with speculation that it will be Juan Carlos Osorio, a Colombian, who has managed numerous clubs sides throughout North and South America.