Mexico 2 Japan 1 match report: Javier Hernandez double sees Mexico beat Japan to third in Confederations Cup group

 

Javier Hernandez scored twice as well as missing a penalty as Mexico beat Japan to finish third in Group A of the Confederations Cup in Belo Horizonte.

The Manchester United striker headed home twice in the second half after Mexico recovered from a miserable first 45 minutes when they produced nothing of note in front of goal.

Japan pulled a goal back through Shinji Okazaki with five minutes left but Hernandez squandered the chance of claiming a hat-trick when his injury-time penalty was saved.

It leaves Mexico third in the group with three points but Japan leave Brazil without a point after three defeats.

Japan had the first goalscoring chance of the match when Shinji Kagawa wriggled through close attention from the Mexico defence and poked the ball towards goal with goalkeeper Francisco Ochoa saving with his foot.

Japan had the ball in the net in the ninth minute but Okazaki was offside when he backheeled the ball into the goal before the striker's determined run in to the box ended with him poking the ball wide.

Mexico had been decidedly second best in the opening stages and Japan fashioned another opening only for Keisuke Honda to fire at the keeper from just outside the area.

Ochoa plucked the ball out of the air as Ryoichi Maeda arrived and Honda's long-range effort was thwarted but it was Mexico who came within inches of scoring the opener in the 40th minute when an unmarked Andres Guardado hit the post with a diving header in front of goal with Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima beaten.

Kawashima then punched Jesus Zavala's shot away in the last action of the first half.

Mexico improved markedly at the start of the second half and Japan had to be grateful to Kawashima, who parried Zavala's firm header on the line.

However, Jose Manuel de la Torre's side took the lead in the 54th minute. Guardado swung in a curling cross from the left which found Hernandez, who had got behind the defender and made no mistake heading home.

Kawashima then tipped Dos Santos' shot round the post before Maeda was inches wide with a drilled shot from distance at the other end.

Mexico though doubled their lead 24 minutes from time when Hernandez moved away from his defender to nod home following Hiram Mier's flick-on from Dos Santos' corner.

Dos Santos was a constant menace and the keeper took no chances with the striker's curling effort after cutting in from the left.

However, Japan got a goal back five minutes from time when Yasuhito Endo's first-time pass found Okazaki in front of goal and he fired the ball home off the underside of the bar.

Five minutes injury time were indicated and in the first Mexico were awarded a penalty when Hernandez went down after tangling with Atsuto Uchida.

Hernandez took the penalty himself but Kawashima guessed correctly to his right, with the Manchester United striker then firing the rebound against the bar.

However, Japan could not fashion an opening and Mexico secured victory.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea