Action from the international friendly between Mexico (green jersey) and Croatia on May 27, 2017, in Los Angeles, California, USA. (Photo: Victor Straffon/Straffon Images)
LOS ANGELES – Croatia scored twice in the first half and withstood a second-half dismissal to earn a 2-1 win over Mexico in an international friendly on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Javier Hernandez broke the record he shared with Jared Borgetti for the most goals scored by a single player in Mexico national team history, when he netted his 47th late in the encounter.
Duje Cop gave the Croatians a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute, when he tapped in from the edge of the six-yard off a squared pass from the right side of the box from Fran Tudor, after Mexico struggled to clear a throw-in placed inside its box.
A minute later, Tudor doubled the Croatian advantage. After Mexico crossed the midfield line, it came under pressure and Diego Reyes eventually attempted a backpass to goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa from 45-yards out. Tudor anticipated well and intercepted the ball. He rounded Ochoa at the upper-left corner of the penalty area, before rolling the ball into an open net from the left edge.
Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio named numerous changes at halftime and throughout the second half, bringing on stars such as Andres Guardado, Carlos Vela and Hernandez.
The personnel moves worked as the Tricolor was able to produce numerous chances.
Guardado nearly netted in the 59th minute, but his left-footed free kick from 27 yards was tipped over the crossbar by quick-reacting goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic.
Then, the excellent Kalinic dove right to save an Oribe Peralta header in the 65th minute.
Croatia was reduced a man in the 77th minute after Mile Skoric’s ejection and Mexico was able to capitalize 10 minutes afterwards.
Guardado delivered an in-swinging free kick from close proximity to the right edge of the penalty area to the left post, where Hernandez headed downward definitively to halve the deficit with his record-breaking goal.
Kalinic preserved the Croatia victory with two minutes remaining in normal time, somehow getting his hands up to block Hector Moreno’s point-blank header.
Next, as it continues to prepare for the resumption of World Cup Qualifying, Mexico will face Ireland in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on June 1.