Mexico's Oribe Peralta (pictured) celebrates after scoring against Panama in an international friendly on October 11, 2016, in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo: John Bacon/Straffon Images)
BRIDGEVIEW, Illinois – Oribe Peralta’s second-half goal proved to be the difference as Mexico edged Panama, 1-0, in an international friendly at Toyota Park on Tuesday night in both teams’ final tune-up before the start of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Giovani dos Santos made the final pass in a fluid buildup for the Tricolor, sending a low cross along the edge of the six-yard box, where the Club America veteran tipped past goalkeeper Jose Calderon. Peralta started the scoring sequence with a layoff for substitute Hirving Lozano, who cut around a defender into space before slipping to Dos Santos on his left.
Lozano had a chance to double Mexico’s lead in the 73rd minute, but the Pachuca forward put his attempt over the bar.
Mexico goalkeeper Moises Muñoz made two saves, his best coming in the last minute of normal time, when the Club America goalkeeper came off his line to deny Armando Cooper’s toe poke from point-blank range.
Both teams open up the final round of CONCACAF qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on November 11 with Panama visiting Honduras and Mexico heading to Columbus, Ohio to meet the United States.