Story of the half: Mexican fans are right to feel aggrieved, as a wrongly-disallowed goal cost them an early lead in what started as rainy and turned into a downpour at the Arena das Dunas in Natal.
Cameroon’s sloppy start on a rain-dampened pitch could’ve doomed them, but Mexico couldn’t find a final ball. When they did, like Giovani dos Santos’ 11th minute shot into the net, they were undone — multiple times — by poor calls.
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Goals (and how they happened):
None that counted.
Other key moments:
3′ – Paul Aguilar’s shot/cross was clearly deflected into the outside of the side netting, but inexplicably ruled a goal kick by a linesman operating just behind the Mexican.
11′ – Giovani dos Santos scores a goal on a beautiful cross, but is ruled offsides. That makes two wrong offsides calls and a poor goal kick inside of 12 minutes. Brutal work by the linesman, and FIFA’s history has us wondering what’s on the official’s mind?
22′ – Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s slick move around the left edge of the box ends with a picture-perfect strike to Samuel Eto’o, who… fires wide. Top-notch striker’s gotta finish that chance.
24′ – A scrum off a corner kick that included a Cameroon player being dragged down. It wasn’t a clear penalty… but it could’ve been given.
27′ – Rafa Marquez leaps to head a free kick just out of his reach, taking the chance away from Hector Moreno’s surging, perfect run behind him. Cameroon is fortunate.
30′ – Dos Santos is ruled offsides again on a play that ends with him scoring, but this time the call seems correct (or at least much closer than the first). That doesn’t change Miguel Herrera’s disposition towards the officials. The colorful coach is extremely upset.
Mexico: Ochoa, Aguilar, Rodríguez, Moreno, Márquez, Layún, Vázquez, Guardado, Herrera, Dos Santos, Peralta
Cameroon: Itandje; Nkoulou, Djeugoue, Chedjou, Assou Ekotto; Song, Mbia, Enoh, Choupo Moting, Moukandjo, Eto’o
Question(s) for the second half:
- Can Mexico keep on the gas? – El Tri were the dominant side for the majority of the half, but will their frustrations get the best of them?
- Is Cameroon better than this? Sloppy and disorganized was not the way the Indomitable Lions qualified for the World Cup, is it? Eto’o and company need to find their form.