Canada earned an impressive 1-1 draw against Mexico in World Cup 2022 Qatar qualifying at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City Thursday.
And while he’s satisfied with Canada’s first draw against Mexico since 2008, Canada’s coach John Herdman believes his team’s performance could have deserved more.
“I’m content with point,” said Herdman after the match. “But at the same time, I think there was an opportunity to take three.
“We wanted to open this game up tonight. I said that right at the beginning. We had to be brave. We had to dare to lose to win. I thought there was a lot of courage in our players tonight. It’s easy to come here and park the bus. We wanted to show there’s more to come. “
Mexico opens scoring but Canada deservedly draw level
Canada started the match strongly – Richie Laryea and Tajon Buchanan with chances to open the scoring a quarter of an hour into the first half. But Jorge Sánchez gave the hosts the lead in the 21st minute after a quick break caught Canada off guard.
The visitors responded well with Alphonso Davies missing a clear opportunity to equalize in the 30th minute after a dangerous low cross by Buchanan. Buchanan then saw a shot block in the 33rd minute.
Steven Vitória saw a header saved point-blank by Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa in the 39th minute.
But Canada eventually found their reward when Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio produced a tidy left-footed finish in the 42nd minute having been played through by Davies.
“We learned form our last game against them,” said Herdman. “We got an understanding of their pressing tactics. And I thought the boys executed.
“While we were fresh they executed really well. Again, we were able to draw their pressure and play behind them. And then focus on where our strengths were, in flank areas.”
Mexico come out strong in the second half
As expected, Mexico began the second half stronger than the visitors, slowly ratcheting up the pressure. But the referee halted play momentarily shortly before the 60th minute because of alleged homophobic chants coming from the crowd.
Play resumed shortly after, with Mexico still in the ascendancy and Canada perhaps suffering from the altitude of Mexico City.
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But Canada had chances of their own, including two quick fire chances in the 77th minute, before Ochoa pushed a header over the crossbar.
After that Mexico were the team looking for the winner. But Canada’s defence stood tall.
“I think in the second half we got a bit leggy and you can see that,” admitted Herdman. “But at the same time I thought we finished strong.”
Canada currently sits third in the table, the final qualification spot, with 10 games to play and next travels to Jamaica to face the Raggae Boyz Sunday, before returning home to host Panama in Toronto Wednesday.
CONCACAF World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying final round