Muñoz, Álvarez lead El Tri to third-place triumph in Toulon

Santiago Muñoz – seen here in his Santos Laguna days – opened the scoring for El Tri to help Mexico defeat Colombia. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images)
Santiago Muñoz – seen here in his Santos Laguna days – opened the scoring for El Tri to help Mexico defeat Colombia. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images) /
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El Tri third place Toulon
Efraín Álvarez – shown here playing for El Tri in the 2021 Gold Cup – scored Mexico’s second goal against Colombia in Toulon. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images) /

Mexico’s Under-21 squad claimed the third-place trophy in the prestigious Marcel Revello youth tournament in Toulon with a comfortable 2-0 win over Colombia.

Well … comfortable except for the fact that they’ll be carrying home a number of bruises after ref Casey Reibelt permitted plenty of rough stuff before finally trying to assert control.

Colombia had 19 fouls, many of the chop-down variety, but the ref preferred scolding the offenders rather than showing cards. She could have ejected Colombian defender Daniel Pedrozo after he cut down Santi Muñoz with a knee-high tackle.

Finally, in the game’s waning moments the Australian ref decided to exert her authority, showing two red cards in quick succession – to Gian Cabezas for a two-footed tackle on Santiago Naveda, then another to Gustavo Puerta after he tugged down Teun Wilke on a breakaway.

El Tri earns medals at Toulon for fourth time

Santi Muñoz and Efraín Álvarez were the goal-scorers, Muñoz heading home a lovely cross from Benjamín Galdames in minute 15 to settle El Tri who had started out a bit lethargic after the disappointing 4-1 smashing it received in the semifinals from host France.

Muñoz was all alone at the back post and Galdames picked him out with a long pass that soared over Colombian keeper Luis Marquines, allowing the Newcastle man to nod home easily.

Álvarez finished off a nifty fast break started when Naveda stole a pass in midfield and quickly pushed the ball forward to Muñoz who drew a defender toward him before leading Álvarez into the left side of the box. The LA Galaxy man fired a low left-footed blast the rippled the net inside the right post for the 2-0 lead in minute 61.

Colombia pressed forward in search of a comeback but Mexico tightened up its lines after allowing the South Americans a few looks at goal early in the second half. Even so, Los Cafeteros failed to get a shot on goal.

Wilke wasted a chance to make it 3-0 in minute 81 when a loose back pass fell into his lap. The 20-year-old striker was quickly in alone on goal but his shot banged off the far post and bounded right to Marquines.

Next. El Tri coasts to win in Nations League opener. dark

Notes: The third-place finish was the second consecutive consolation trophy for El Tri who claimed the bronze medal in the 2019 Toulon tournament, the last time the event was held before the pandemic. … Mexico now has four pieces of hardware from the prestigious youth tournament, finishing third in 1976, 2019 and 2022. The fourth trophy came in 2018 when El Tri finished second to England.