KAZAN, Russia – Mexico (2W-1D-0L, 7 points) earned a place in the FIFA Confederations Cup for a fourth time with a 2-1 victory over host and 10-man Russia (1-0-2, 3) on Saturday in front of a capacity crowd of 41,585 at Kazan Arena.
The result gave the Tricolor second place in Group A, finishing behind Portugal (2-1-0, 7) – a 4-0 winner over New Zealand (0-0-3, 0) – on goal difference (+5 to +2). Russia and New Zealand were eliminated from the competition.
Hirving Lozano scored the game-winning goal in the 52nd minute in his usual hustling fashion.
After Mexico’s Hector Herrera lofted a long clearance out of his own end, Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev came out to the top of his 18-yard box to get possession of the ball, which took a high bounce. Rather than using his head to get a touch, Akinfeev attempted a kick with his right foot, but Lozano raced there first to head home on one bounce. Akinfeev’s foot ended up in the chest of Lozano and knocked him down, but the 21-year-old got back up quickly to celebrate.
Russia tool a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute on a fortuitous play. Aleksandr Erokhin fanned on an attempted shot from 14-yards out, but recovered quickly to square the ball to his right for Alexander Samedov, who placed a left-footed shot into the left side of the net.
Five minutes later, the sides were on level terms. From a central position, Herrera lifted a delivery to the edge of the six-yard for unmarked Nestor Araujo. The Santos defender gave all appearances that he was going to head the ball across the face of the goal, but it hit off the top of his head and looped over Akinfeev.
Yury Zhirkov’s 68th-mimute ejection for a second yellow card dashed any hopes of progression for Russia, which needed to win.
Both Mexico and Russia had a goal disallowed for offside.