Colombia erases 2-0 deficit, defeats El Tri with stoppage-time winner

Guillermo Martínez gets goal, assist on his debut, but it's not enough to avoid a loss

Former América star Roger Martínez lets fly from 35 meters as Guadalajara's Luis Orozco looks on. Martínez's shot here found the net and he also took part in the build-up to the game-winner as Colombia defeated El Tri 3-2 in a friendly at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Former América star Roger Martínez lets fly from 35 meters as Guadalajara's Luis Orozco looks on. Martínez's shot here found the net and he also took part in the build-up to the game-winner as Colombia defeated El Tri 3-2 in a friendly at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. / Omar Vega/GettyImages
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A makeshift El Tri side coughed up a 2-0 second-half lead, losing to Colombia in a friendly match in Los Angeles.

Mexico coach Jimmy Lozano handed out nine debuts on the night – six of them in the starting line-up. The newcomers acquitted themselves well for most of the match, but their lack of familiarity with each other showed up for long stretches, too.

Puebla’s Guillermo Martínez – one of the debutantes and an in-demand player in between seasons – contributed a goal and an assist. 

Martínez got the start at the point of attack since Mexico’s top five forwards were unavailable because this was not a FIFA date and América’s Henry Martín and Julián Quiñones are playing in the Liga MX final.

El Tri strikes first

Both teams came out looking to attack and each made probing runs that failed to produce any danger.

Mexico goalie José Antonio Rodríguez was called upon in minute 31, and he responded with a fine save, getting just enough of Daniel Ruiz’s low, angled shot to push it past the far post.

In minute 40, El Tri midfielder Omar Govea poked the ball away from Colombia’s Jorman Campuzano who was trying to carry out of the defensive third. The ball squirted to Guillermo Martínez who drew a defender to him then tapped a cross-footed pass into the box for Govea who had followed up the play, circling behind Martínrez into the right channel. The Monterrey man rifled a shot over David Ospina and Mexico was up 1-0.

Five minutes after the restart, Martínez put El Tri ahead 2-0.

Mexico moved the ball through midfield on the left side, Martínez escaping a double team with a back-heel flick that released César Huerta. The Pumas star dribbled briefly before sending it to an unmarked Jordi Cortizo on the opposite side.

Cortizo cut inside a defender, then nearly lost the ball. The Rayados midfielder recovered, created space and fired a left-footer that Ospina palmed wide of goal to the left. Martínez pounced on the rebound, turned and let fly with a low, sharp-angled blast that the prone Ospina couldn’t control.

And then momentum shifted …

Colombia answered quickly, cutting the lead in half just 5 minutes thereafter. Left back Samuel Velásquez raced past the defense into the box and cut back a perfect pass to Andrés Reyes who redirected the ball into the net to make the score 2-1

The South Americans nearly equalized moments later. A long ball and a one-touch volley sent Ian Poveda-Ocampo into the box but Rodríguez smothered the shot attempt then scampered after the loose ball to deny Colombia a follow-up shot.

Former América star Roger Martínez finally did knot things up in minute 69, beating Rodríguez with a laser from outside the area.

Just when it looked like the game would end in a draw, the back line was caught napping.

Two minutes into stoppage time, a through pass into the box found Martínez behind the defense. Roger’s cross was long but David Silva chased it down on the back side and knocked it back into the center of the box to Andrés Gómez who was all alone because Mexico’s defenders were ball-watching. Rodríguez got a piece of Gómez’s shot but couldn’t keep it out of the net.

The December friendly was part of Mexico’s Contractual Obligations Tour (not the official name), one of the games that was postponed during the pandemic back in 2020-2021.

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El Tri won’t play a meaningful game until March 21 when Lozano & Co will meet Panama in the Concacaf Nations League semifinals.