Mexico edge New Zealand 2-1 in football friendly

Washington (AFP) – Giovani dos Santos returned to international action with a goal for Mexico in their 2-1 friendly victory over New Zealand in Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday.

Los Angeles Galaxy striker dos Santos, in uniform for Mexico for the first time since July of last year, converted a penalty to open the scoring in the 29th minute.

Marco Rojas pulled New Zealand level a minute into the second half, but Marco Fabian grabbed a winner in the 56th for Mexico — who had beaten New Zealand 9-3 on aggregate in their 2014 World Cup qualifying playoff.

New Zealand, who won their fifth Oceania Nations Cup in June to qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia next year, came into the match unbeaten in their seven prior internationals.

Jordan Silva, Hedgardo Marin and Jesus Gallardo all started for Mexico, who were without veteran Javier Hernandez.

After dos Santos’s early long-range attempt went wide, he got a chance from the spot in the 29th after Hirving Lozano was brought down in the area.

“It was great to score a goal after being out of the team for a year,” Dos Santos said. “It feels good.”

Kosta Barbarouses thought he had equalised shortly thereafter but was ruled offside.

But Melbourne Victory attacker Rojas leveled the match to start the second half before Oribe Peralta set up Fabian for his first international goal since 2014.

Mexico, preparing for CONCACAF “Hexagonal” World Cup qualifying, will face Panama in a friendly on Tuesday, with New Zealand taking on the United States on the same day.

Mexico and the United States face each other in a World Cup qualifier on November 11 in Columbus, Ohio.

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