Goals from Henry Martin and Luis Chavez shortly after the break put Mexico in the running, but a series of superb saves from Saudi goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Owais and two disallowed efforts deprived the South Americans of the elusive goal they needed to move forward.
Mexico wins but it’s not quite enough! @adidasfootball | #Fifa World Cup
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The game went all the way and at one point it looked like Mexico were going to miss Group C rivals Poland as they had racked up more yellow cards, but Saudi forward Salem Al- Dawsari scored in stoppage time to make the goal difference decider.
🙌 See you both in the round of 16! @Argentina | @LaczyNasPilka | #FIFAWorldCup https://t.co/iu1vuwkH75
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Mexico’s exit ended a streak of seven consecutive World Cup last-16 ties and Saudi Arabia’s loss killed what looked like a realistic chance to emerge from the group stages for the first time in 28 year.
Having failed to score in their first two Group C matches, Mexico’s chances of progress looked slim at the start of the game, depending on the result of the match between Argentina and Poland which Argentina won 2- 0 to lead the group.
Urgently in need of bolstering their goal difference, Mexico took the game to Saudi Arabia early on and never stopped running, peppering the goal with long-range efforts in a desperate attempt to gain control of his own fate.
Orbelin Pineda and Chavez drove a high-octane game the Saudis struggled to enter, defending in desperation.
Mexico broke the deadlock two minutes after half-time, when Cesar Montes’ deft heel from a corner found Martin sending the ball over the line into a crowded goal mouth.
They doubled their lead in the 52nd minute when Chavez’s powerful free-kick from 20 yards sailed into the corner of the goal beyond Al-Owais’ reach, sparking wild Mexican celebrations on the pitch.
Lozano found the net but his goal was disallowed and Mexico fought hard to get the decisive third but were consistently denied by reflexes from Al-Owais in the Saudi goal.
Substitute Uriel Antuna saw a superb late effort disallowed for offside four minutes from time before Al-Dawsari dashed Mexico’s hopes with a Saudi consolation goal in stoppage time.