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9 June 2002, 17:11 Seoul - Tokyo
MEXICO 2 : 1 ECUADOR
After an early Agustin Delgado header gave Ecuador the lead, Mexico stormed back confidently to win 2-1 in Miyagi, Japan. Jared Borgetti and Gerardo Torrado claimed the goals that clinched the match, leaving Mexico in an excellent spot to advance from Group G.
Both goals were top class, and the two goal scorers were impressive figures throughout the match. The authority with which Mexico controlled the South Americans will have their next opponents, Italy, nervous about their chances. For Ecuador it looks the end of the road on their debut appearance at the FIFA World Cup. Only a victory over Croatia along with a Mexican win against Italy could keep them in the tournament.
Ecuador went ahead early when Agustin Delgados pinpoint flick header was just out of the reach of goalkeeper Oscar Perez and banged down inside the goal off the underside of the crossbar. Ulises De La Cruz set up the first chance of the game with his cross from the right side (0:1, 5).
Ecuadors Edwin Tenorio fouled Joahan Rodriguez outside the corner of the penalty area, setting up Mexicos first dangerous set piece. But, goalkeeper Jose Cevallos easily handled Ramon Morales swerving left-footer (18).
Midway through the first half, Mexico enjoyed an overwhelming advantage in possession time, but the Tricolores never seemed dangerous and Ecuador soaked up the pressure with relative ease.
But when Morales broke free on the left side and crossed for Jared Borgetti, the Santos forward made his left-foot volley look easy as it escaped a diving Cevallos and found the back of the net (1:1, 28).
Back to level terms, Ecuador returned to the attack. Alfonso Obregon struck a powerful shot from 25 metres that veered wide of the left post (33).
For the most part, Mexico continued to dictate the flow of the match, creating three more good chances before the half-time whistle. Cuauhtemoc Blanco had the best opportunity, receiving a pass just inside the penalty area, but he could only manage a soft right-footer on Cevallos (41).
Raul Guerron earned a caution when he was forced to drag down Jesus Arellano after the Monterrey forward beat him cleanly on the right side. The foul proved wise when Braulio Lunas free kick was high and wide of the back post (50).
Mexico continued to press forward in the second half and they were eventually rewarded. Torrado was given space outside the penalty area and he ripped a left-footer into the right-side netting (2:1, 57).
Substitute forward Carlos Tenorio provided a brief respite from the Mexican onslaught when his sudden burst of speed past two Mexican defenders created a corner kick. Ecuador eventually earned a free kick, and Guerrons 30-metre shot had pace but was directed right at Perez (66).
Before long, Mexico were back on the attack with Rodriguez wasting a good chance high over the net from 10 metres (68), and Borgetti skimming the far post with a shot from just inside the area (70).
Tenorios speed caused more problems for Mexico when he raced around a defender to receive a pass and fire a quick shot that Perez was just able to deflect with his foot (81).
Edison Mendez then tested Perez from long-range with a hard-struck volley
that the goalkeeper had little trouble containing (83). Marlon Ayovi
came even closer for Ecuador when his right-footer from 20 metres skipped
inches outside the right post (87).