Lozano strikes as Mexico stun holders Germany
Germany 0 - 1 Mexico

Lozano strikes as Mexico stun holders Germany

17/06/2018

Hirving Lozano was the Mexico hero as they beat reigning champions Germany 1-0 in a thrilling match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow -- their first loss in a World Cup opener since 1982.

Mexico made a blistering start, barely a minute on the clock when Lozano broke into the area on the left, evading Joshua Kimmich but seeing his strike blocked by Jerome Boateng for a corner that Manuel Neuer eventually claimed.

But Germany responded, Kimmich threading a pass to Timo Werner who lashed a low shot across goal and beyond the far post from a tight angle.

Thomas Muller then did well to win the ball back on the edge of the Mexico area but, when it fell to Mats Hummels, his low shot was gathered by Guillermo Ochoa.

After eight minutes, Mexico won a free kick 25 yards out when the roaming Carlos Vela was fouled by Hummels, but Miguel Layun's effort was wafted well over the bar.

Hector Herrera sent a shot skidding into Neuer's gloves as Mexico came forward again, giving the World Cup holders plenty to think about in the opening stages with a number of swift breaks.

With 14 minutes gone, Mexico won a free kick in a good crossing position and Neuer was alert again when Hector Moreno got a touch to steer the ball goalwards.

Carlos Salcedo steered a Kimmich cross wide of his own goal after confusion in the Mexico defence, and from the corner Julian Draxler's long-range thump was straight at Ochoa.

Mexico striker Javier Hernandez waited too long to shoot when played in on the left of the box by Vela, Germany getting numbers back to snuff out the danger, and at the other end Werner shot straight at the keeper with the unmarked Draxler waiting in vain for a pass.

The open start showed no sign of abating, Kroos the next to try his luck with a strike held by Ochoa before Hernandez saw a low effort rebound off Boateng.

With 24 minutes played, Kimmich went into the book after catching Herrera with a high challenge before Layun fired over from 25 yards after yet another quick Mexico counter-attack.

Layun tried again as the half-hour approached, his low drive proving no problem for Neuer, and as the frantic pace finally began to subside a little Muller's deflected cross came to nothing.

Mexico had been enjoying the majority of the threat and created another when Gallardo produced a low cross that was hacked away by Germany.

And with 35 minutes gone they had the goal they deserved when the ball was slipped to Lozano on the left of the area and he got away from the covering Ozil and crashed a low shot into the corner.

Three minutes later, Lozano swung a boot at Kimmich after losing the ball to him 25 yards out, but Ochoa made a fine fingertip save to divert Kroos' strike onto the bar.

Moreno got a yellow card for timewasting as half-time approached, but Germany were suddenly looking ragged, with passes going astray as they tried to make headway around the Mexico area.

And it could have been worse for Joachim Low's side a minute before the break, Vela poking just wide from the edge of the area as he continued to ask plenty of questions of the defence.

Germany got the second half under way, Marvin Plattenhardt the first player to show intent to venture forward but shooting straight at Ochoa.

Kimmich lashed over from 25 yards and then Werner went to ground on the edge of the Mexico area, only for play to be waved on.

Draxler's shot was deflected wide by Salcedo and then Andres Guardado blasted high after Mexico had again stretched Germany on the counter.

As the hour approached, Mexico replaced Vela with Edson Alvarez, putting him into a defensive midfield role, and Low made a change of his own as he tried to get his side going, Marco Reus on for Khedira.

Mexico were sitting deeper but Germany were struggling to muster much threat, only for two defenders to combine unexpectedly after 64 minutes as Boateng crossed and Kimmich's overhead kick cleared the bar.

Goal-scorer Lozano came off to be replaced by fellow forward Raul Jimenez, and Draxler's effort was deflected over before Werner lashed a first-time effort too high.

Mexico wanted a penalty when Hernandez tried to get away from Hummels but the referee waved play on, and as the action swept back to the other end Salcedo got a crucial touch to clear a threatening low cross.

Rafael Marquez became only the third player to play at five World Cups when he replaced Guadardo as the final 15 minutes approached, with Mexico continuing to protect their lead.

Minutes later, Germany were within a whisker of an equaliser when Kimmich's pullback was met by a Kroos strike that whistled past the post before Kroos found Draxler, who stepped away from one defender but had his strike blocked by another.

Layun fired over after yet another Mexico counter and Germany made another change, taking off defender Plattenhardt and bringing on striker Mario Gomez as the game entered its final 1o minutes.

Mexico had -- and wasted -- a breakaway chance to seal the game, Layun blasting wide before the frustrated Muller and Hummels were booked for fouls in quick succession.

Germany made their final change when Julian Brandt came on for Werner, and they should have levelled wqhen substitute Gomez headed Muller's cross over and then, with a minute left, fellow sub Brandt sent a brilliant strike whizzing narrowly wide.

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