Korea Republic didn’t have things all their own way in their 4-1 win over Mexico in Trinidad’s Dwight Yorke Stadium on Wednesday. The Mexicans pushed all the way and showed resolute spirit after suffering the ignominy of a 9-0 battering at the hands of Germany in their opener. However, their second loss on the trot sees them head for home while Korea Republic join Germany as the first to qualify for the quarter-finals of Trinidad and Tobago 2010.
Mexico came out flying and looked to have put the disappointment of their huge loss to Germany behind them. Andrea Sanchez had the first chance for the CONCACAF side after only 12 minutes, but her thunderous volley from 20 yards cleared the crossbar. In the very next play, Sanchez’s counterpart – South Korea’s No11 Lee Geum Min – forced goalkeeper Rosa Merida into a fine save.
The Mexicans then began to pile on the pressure, and Daniela Solis nearly scored after turning brilliantly at the edge of the box. But she could only steer her shot into the waiting arms of Kim Minah. Seconds later, Sanchez raced in down the left channel and tested Kim at her near post. After another chance that the Korean keeper was able to gather, the Asians roared right up the other side and hit Mexico with a sucker punch, very much against the run of play. Yeo Min Ji – who scored twice in the win over South Africa – found space out right and crossed brilliantly for Kim Nari, who made no mistake nodding the fine piece of service home.
Showing considerable heart and determination, the Mexicans struck back in the 37th minute. Fernanda Pina went around a first challenge, before riding out another and firing low and hard past the onrushing Kim and into the back of the net. But Yeo Min Ji slid home from close range five minutes from the break to silence Mexico’s vocal band of travelling fans and make it 2-1 at the interval.
The Mexicans continued to press after the break and Sanchez nearly drew level in the 58th minute, only to see her try from distance skid the wrong side of the post. The ladies in green continued to press as the half wore on, but they were almost caught out in the 68th minute when Lee Yoo Na’s audacious try from 35 yards splattered off the top of the crossbar. The Asians continued to exploit the counter-attack as Mexico needed a win and threw everything into a frenzied attack. They got their insurance goal in the 76th minute when Oh Dahye cut inside and buried her effort to a groan from the Mexican supporters. Substitute Lee Yoon added one more just for good measure on the stroke of full time, poking home from six yards out after a defensive mix-up
The Koreans third and final Group B test will come on Sunday when they take on a German side that has scored 19 goals in their last two games, conceding just one. Despite their spirit and fighting qualities, Mexico are headed for home and will be playing only for pride in their last game against eliminated South Africa.