Mexico suffered an agonising exit from the World Cup on goal difference on Wednesday despite beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 in a dramatic finale to Group C.
Second-half goals from Henry Martin and Luis Chavez secured victory for Mexico but they finished third behind Poland after Salem Al-Dawsari’s late strike.
Mexico desperately pushed for a third goal in an effort to improve their goal difference as they faced elimination on FIFA fair play rules.
Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina in their opening match was one of the World Cup’s great upsets, but they crashed back down to earth with a 2-0 loss to Poland in their second game.
Coach Herve Renard urged his players to show that was no flash in the pan and write themselves into Saudi football history by reaching knockout rounds for the first time since 1994.
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Having failed to win either of their first two group games for the first time in 44 years, Mexico knew victory was essential if they were to stand a chance of reaching the last 16 at an eighth successive World Cup.
Mexico boss Gerardo Martino ditched the back five he used in the 2-0 loss to Argentina and brought in Martin to lead the attack.
It almost reaped immediate rewards but Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais raced out to block Alexis Vega after he was slipped in behind the defence by Hirving Lozano.
Al-Owais, one of the heroes of the 2-1 win over Argentina, tentatively palmed away a bouncing cross ahead of a lunging Martin and held weak attempts by Chavez and Orbelin Pineda.
Mohamed Kanno whipped a free-kick just over for Saudi Arabia, who saw defender Ali Al-Bulayhi forced off with injury — adding to their mounting casualty list.
Mexico continued to attack without success and Ali Al-Hassan nearly sent the bulk of the largely Saudi crowd wild late in the first half with a diving header that flashed wide of the far post.
Chavez tested Al-Owais right after the interval and Martin soon broke the deadlock as he turned in from close range following Cesar Montes’ clever flick-on at a corner.
Mexico’s second goal arrived just five minutes later when Chavez sensationally curled a free-kick into the top corner from 30 metres.
Keeping an eye on the score between Argentina and Poland, Mexico pushed relentlessly for a third goal, with Lozano’s effort ruled out for a tight offside.
Martin blazed over when he had a glorious chance and Chavez had another free-kick turned away by Al-Owais, who also sprawled to his right to claw out a drive from Lozano.
Uriel Antuna then had another goal disallowed for offside before Al-Dawsari’s late strike put an end to the drama.
Everton confirm former Burnley boss Dyche as new manager
Everton have confirmed the appointment of former Burnley boss Sean Dyche as their new manager on a two-and-a-half-year contract.
The report came on Monday that Dyche had been chosen by the Everton board as Frank Lampard’s successor, after also holding talks with former Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa.
Dyche, according to a Sky Sports report, is the seventh permanent manager hired by Toffees owner Farhad Moshiri since he took over the club nearly seven years ago.
Lampard’s last game in charge was a 2-0 defeat at fellow strugglers West Ham on January 21, which kept them second-bottom on 15 points after 20 games – two points below the safety zone.
The Merseyside club had been floundering under the former England international, having last won a league game in October when they beat Crystal Palace 3-0 at home.
Lampard was appointed by Everton in January 2022 after he managed Chelsea from 2019/2021 and Derby County in the second tier in 2018/19, but Dyche will now be tasked with arresting the slide towards the Championship.
Dyche told the club’s official website, “It’s an honour to become Everton manager. My staff and I are ready and eager to help get this great club back on track.
“I know about Everton’s passionate fanbase and how precious this club is to them. We’re ready to work and ready to give them what they want. That starts with sweat on the shirt, effort and getting back to some of the basic principles of what Everton Football Club has stood for for a long time.”
Mourinho Compares Victor Osimhen to one of the African legend, Didier Drogba
AS Roma manager, Jose Mourinho, has compared Super Eagles of Nigeria and Napoli of Italy hitman, Victor Osimhen, to Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend, Didier Drogba.
NEWSBREAK reports that the Nigerian striker netted a world-class goal as his side, Napoli, marched towards the Serie A title on Sunday. Osimhen’s classic goal came against Mourinho’s Roma at the Diego Maradona stadium where Napoli won 2-1.
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Speaking after the match, Mourinho, a former Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid manager, said: “He (Osimhen) is of the same level as Drogba, but Didier didn’t dive.
Kelechi Iheanacho’s record goal helps Leicester qualify for last 16 FA Cup
Leicester city needed the goal from Nigerian footballer Kelechi Iheanacho to avoid a shock elimination from the FA Cup with a 1-0 win at Walsall on Saturday.
The Nigerian has scored more goals in the competition than any other player since making his debut in 2016.
Iheanacho’s 17th goal in 23 FA Cup appearances had some fortune as his strike from the edge of the box took a deflection for the only goal 23 minutes from time.
Leicester, Leeds and Man United join Manchester City as the first four sides to book their place in the last 16 of the competition.
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