Mexico battle back in Morelia
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Mexico survived quite a scare in their opening Group A match, requiring a ferocious fight-back against a ten-man Korea DPR to claim a 3-1 victory. Carlos Fierro equalised Jo Kwang’s early strike, and after goalkeeper Cha Jong Hun was sent off early in the second half, the home side were able to claim all the points on offer.

It looked like the weight and pressure of the occasion was going to prove too much for Mexico early on in their opening with Korea DPR in Morelia. The Asian champions shocked the home crowd by taking the lead, Jo Kwang latching onto a through ball form the left, controlling well and poking the ball underneath the despairing Mexican goalkeeper Richard Sanchez.

After the early setback, the hosts roared into attack, with the visitors happy enough to sit back and look for the occasional counter-attack. And after chances galore went begging through Arturo González, Marco Bueno and Carlos Fierro, the fans began to look a little tense in the Estadio Morelos. Fierro finally settled those jangling nerves eight minutes before the interval, however, with a well-taken volley from close range after a mix-up in the Asian’s defence.

The home side chased the go-ahead goal as the second half developed. And when goalkeeper Cha Jong Hun took down Marco Bueno and was promptly given his marching orders by the referee, all looked lost for the brave Koreans. They continued to self-destruct in minute 68 when Giovani Casillas’ cross was met by the sprawling Jong Kwang Sok, who nodded into his own net.

The Mexicans continued to pile heavy pressure on their ten-man visitors, who wilted in the heat as the second period wore on. They added a third in the 87th minute when substitute keeper An Kang Chol could not hold Fierro’s wicked shot from distance and the outstanding Casillas pounced to pop into the open net.

Section leaders Mexico will meet Congo in their next contest in Morelia on 21 June, while the Koreans look to pick up the pieces when they line up against European champions the Netherlands in their second game.