Qatar stuns dreadful El Tri
Well this won’t look good on Jimmy’s résumé, to say nothing of what it might do for the confidence of El Tri going forward.
Mexico put on an atrocious show, losing to world No. 58 Qatar 1-0 in a Gold Cup group stage match.
Fortunately, the horrendous loss did not prevent El Tri from qualifying top of Group B and advancing to the knockout round. But it won’t much for Mexico’s sagging confidence.
And it will definitely be a black mark on Jimmy Lozano’s application to be the permanent coach.
Few good performances, fewer ideas, no goals
El Tri dominated the statistics (77% possession, 26 shots to 1) but that was not truly evident on the pitch.
Mexico lacked ingenuity with the ball, showed little decisiveness and played with almost no urgency. Viewers would be hard-pressed to identify any El Tri player that rated a positive evaluation.
Interim coach Lozano (probably a good idea to emphasize the “interim” part of his title from here on out) made six changes to the line-up that earned wins in El Tri’s first two Gold Cup contests.
Forward Santi Giménez was given his first start in an official game and was ineffective, squandering a number of scoring chances. Fans who have howled for him to be given the starting job might now regret that petition.
Luis Chávez – a mainstay in midfield since the World Cup – was particularly miserable, but it would be unfair to single him out among the innumerable poor passes, turnovers, flubbed shots and inexplicable decisions.
One shot was all Qatar needed
Defenders Israel Reyes and Edson Álvarez took turns dribbling into trouble and losing possession, leaving the defense vulnerable. And Qatar’s goal came after the El Tri back line bent out of shape.
Reyes lost possession at the left sideline and was slow to get up, Álvarez got out of position while failing to stop the initial rush which then saw Mussab Kidir run free down the left flank. Kidder sent a low cross into the box where right back Julián Araujo was left guarding two men. Instead of reacting to the ball, Araujo froze, waiting for it to reach him. Instead, Hazem Shehata raced past him and sent a powerful header toward the net. Guillermo Ochoa got a hand on the ball, but not enough to stop it.
Basically, that was all she wrote as El Tri spent the next 63+ minutes, yo-yoing the ball around the packed-in defense, unable to figure out how to create space.
Of the six shots on net produced by Mexico, only one forced a difficult save by Meshaal Barsham. And that was a Santi Giménez volley at the back post which the Feyenoord sniper should have done more with.
It’s difficult to say how this will impact the team’s psyche the remainder of the Gold Cup (it’s unlikely to be a positive development), but finishing atop the group means El Tri won’t have to face the U.S. until the final. If Mexico reaches the final (no guarantee after Sunday’s horrid performance).
Lozano and the team won’t know who their quarterfinal opponent will be until Monday night, but El Tri will surely be favored to win that match. However, that likely sets up a match with Jamaica and Mexico’s participation could very well end right there.