Mexican head coach Luis Fernando Tena and the rest of the Mexican national team thought their match against Senegal would be a tune up game. However, the Senegal team came to play and they also came to run in the Olympics Football Quaterfinals on Saturday morning.
Mexico started the scoring early with a hard-drilled shot by Jorge Enriquez Garcia in the 10’ minute. Garcia beat Senegal to the ball on a 50-50 and riffled one in the lower 90. Mexico got another goal just as the second half opened from Javier Aquino Carmona to put the team ahead 2-0.
However, the two goal lead started to make the Mexican team become complacent, and they would eventually stopped attacking the goal all together, making it a perfect setting for Senegal comeback. Senegal striker, Moussa Konate, sparked the team’s comeback by scoring a beautiful header in the 69’ minute, that the 19-year old just snuck past Mexican goaltender, Jose Coronoa, in the near post.
The team got another goal several minutes later, as Ibrahima Balde scored on a headed from yet another perfect cross from midfielder Pape Souare. Both goals came from crosses of the foot of Souare, who was serving up some beauties into the mixer. However,Souare also was in the middle of the games most controversial call, as he used that same “golden foot” to kick Mexico’s Hector Herrera in the face in the 81’ minute. He was given a yellow card, but in many ways due to the aggressiveness of the foul, should have been a red. Herrera was forced to come out for several minutes, as his face got treated on the sideline. Herrera would eventually have his revenge though.
After the Senegalese tied it 2-2 in the 76’ minute, they then turned up the heat on Mexico. Senegal stayed aggressive and peppered Mexico with shots all throughout the second half. However, despite the last minute onslaught of shots, neither team was able to get the advantage in regulation.
Mexico came back on the attack to open the first overtime period. They had a handful of shots on Sengeal goaltender, Ousmane Mane, in the first couple minutes and it was only a matter of time until one got through. In the 98’ minute a bad turnover in the box, led to an uncontested goal by Mexican Giovani dos Santos. The forward did exactly what he had to do, and he put it in the left side of the onion bag to give Mexico a commanding 3-2 heading into the second overtime.
Mexico wasted no time by converting again in the opening minutes of the second overtime. A miscue from the Senegalese goaltender allowed Herrera to be able to head a ball into an open net to put Mexico up 4-2 in the dwindling minutes of the overtime thriller. The Mexicans plain and simply wore down the Senegalese mids as the game wore on and it really showed in overtime. Senegal put in an outstanding effort, but was just not able to get an equalizer in OT.
The Mexican team will now go on to play Japan in the semi-finals, in what will no doubt be another exciting Olympic football game. The Mexicans are still favorites to meet Brazil in the finals, but Japan has an array of quick outside strikers.