Both coaches had sent their respective teams out not to lose the game, and this was evident in a tight opening in which tactical discipline was the order of the day. Indeed, the crowd had to wait 17 minutes for the first shot on target, which came from Arsenal forward Park Chuyoung’s direct free-kick.
As the half wore on, the South Koreans increased their foothold on the game, winning several corner kicks in quick succession and dominating possession. Yet, for all of their territorial advantage, chances were few and far between, with only Park Jungwoo’s off-target free-kick the real opportunity of note.
Mexico’s only attempt on target in the opening 45 minutes came when Hector Herrera’s volley from Miguel Ponce’s cross was well held by Jung Sungryong.
The pattern of the game was re-established after the interval when the Asians went close twice in as many minutes. First Koo Jaechol hit the bar and then Ki Sung-Yueng forced a fine save from Jose Corona.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Giovani dos Santos entered the fray as a substitute for Mexico in the 66th minute, and he had two good chances to be the match-winner, most notably three minutes from time when his volley narrowly failed to hit the target.
Mexico almost snatched victory in the final minute when Raul Jimenez’s shot clipped the outside of the post.