That a Juan Carlos Valenzuela own goal in the 75th minute gave Chile a 1-0 win over Mexico pretty much summed up the tenor of this game.
Neither team exhibited much rhythm and attacking opportunities were sparse – especially in a dull first half dominated (and I use the term loosely) by Mexico.
In fact, the only two real scoring opportunities of the opening 45 minutes provided bookends to the half. In the second minute a Chilean defender came close to scoring an own goal, while Chile striker Fabian Orellana produced the game’s sole moment of intoxicating brilliance on the right wing, beating three Mexican defenders and unleashing a shot in stoppage time.
The second half goal came as Valenzuela attempted to rather casually cut out a cross by striker Jose Fuenzalida from reaching a lurking forward behind him and knocked it in the net from a couple of yards out.
Overall though, not much value for money for the overwhelmingly pro-Mexican crowd of 32,924, many of whom not surprisingly didn’t stick around long and headed for the exits early.
Updated: That’s the first time I’ve heard a post-game press conference conducted in the three languages of Spanish, English and Swedish, but Mexico Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson didn’t have much to say in any of them.
Samples of what he said (with what he actually meant following):
*”I like the mentality of the team. They worked very hard.” (But they played like generally crap and I couldn’t point to anything that was particularly effective.”
*”It was very important to me to work with players we’d never worked with before.” (And after that performance thank gawd I don’t have to see most of them again in a national team jersey).
Paraphrased question: Could you tell us who especially impressed you?
Paraphrased answer: I couldn’t single anyone out. (Are you kidding me?)