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Peralta’s goal saves FIFA more controversy; Mexico dominates Cameroon 1-0

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If Mexico fails to escape Group A on goals, fans of El Tri could point directly to Friday’s dominant-but-unrewarded first half as a key moment in the tournament.

Mexican forward Giovani dos Santos had two first-half goals disallowed — at least one unfairly — as Cameroon was fortunate to make its way to a scoreless halftime at the Arena das Dunas in Natal.

But Miguel Herrera’s decision to keep Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez on he bench eventually paid off, as the match’s best player played a major role in Mexico’s goal.

MORE: Soccerly’s Mexico/Cameroon recap

Dos Santos was through on goal, and his hard attempt rebounded off Cameroon keeper Charles Itandje and right to Oribe Peralta. Mexico’s best finisher did just that, and it was 1-0 in the 61st minute.

The first 45 minutes were decidedly-slanted in Mexico’s favor, in terms of the run of play. The officials had the pitch going more in the way of El Tri’s African opponents, whose sloppy and disorganized opening was allowed to skate free of damnation.

Disallowed goal No. 1 came after just 11 minutes, as dos Santos scores a goal on a beautiful cross, but is ruled offsides. It was a bout of brutal work by the linesman, and FIFA’s history has us wondering what’s on the official’s mind?

Disallowed goal No. 2 was more understandable… at least in super slow motion. Dos Santos was ruled offsides again when a Cameroon player barely flicked a corner into his path before the finish.

source: AP
Source: AP

In between the disallowed goals was Cameroon’s best chance, as Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s left-footed cross was near-perfect for Samuel Eto’o, who fired wide left (just skimming the post)

The second half brought one substitution for Cameroon, as Dany Achille Nounkeu took the place great flick by dos Santos sends Oribe Peralta in on goal, but Itandje get a piece of a low shot with his legs.

The first yellow card of the game came in the 57th minute, after Moreno took down Cameroon’s Stephane Mbia about 28 yards out from goal. Assou-Ekotto’s free kick was deflected off the wall and briefly appeared headed for glory, only to go wide of the frame.

Eto’o won a corner for Cameroon in the 80th minute, its fourth. It was a dangerous ball, but sailed through the box untouched.

Cameroon found a couple good chances late, but Guillermo Ochoa made a leaping save of a snapped-header by Moukandjo.

Hernandez butchered a chance to give Mexico a goal in the third minute of stoppage time.

[ MORE: Soccerly covers the World Cup ]

LINEUPS

Mexico: Ochoa, Aguilar, Rodríguez, Moreno, Márquez, Layún, Vázquez, Guardado (Fabian, 69′), Herrera (Salcido, 90’+2), Dos Santos, Peralta (Hernandez, 73′)

Goals: Peralta (61′)

Cameroon: Itandje; Nkoulou, Djeugoue (Nounkeu, 46′), Chedjou, Assou Ekotto; Song (Webo, 79′), Mbia, Enoh, Choupo Moting, Moukandjo, Eto’o

WATCH: Griezmann misses Torres-won PK in huge Champions League moment

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 28: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid speaks to head coach Diego Simeone during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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Frankly, Antoine Griezmann embodied the Atletico Madrid attack in the first half, so it was no surprise when he stepped up to the penalty spot early in the second half.

Fernando Torres had won a penalty kick from Pepe after the Portuguese back stamped on his ankle in the 46th minute, and Greizmann got Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas going the wrong direction before cranking the ball off the bar.

[ MORE: Hull City snares last PL spot for 2016-17 ]

The miss looms large.

Argentine star Messi leaves Honduras match with back injury

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 08:  (L-R) Jose Juan Vazquez #23 of Mexico and Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina during a international friendly at AT&T Stadium on September 8, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi left the field with a back injury in the second half of a 1-0 victory over Honduras in a friendly Friday night.

The Argentine team captain and Barcelona star was hit on an apparently inconsequential play and immediately went to the locker room. He was replaced at the 62-minute mark by Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega and never returned to the field.

“Messi suffered a trauma to the left side of his lower back and rib cage,” the Argentine Football (Soccer) Association said in a statement, adding that doctors were looking at the injury.

[ MORE: Hull City snares last PL spot for 2016-17 ]

Messi is not a player who leaves the field with minor injuries like he did Friday at San Juan’s Bicentenario stadium.

“I would not dare to venture a diagnosis,” said a concerned Argentine manager, Gerardo Martino.

Gonzalo Higuain, who scored for Argentina, said it “was an important win and here’s hoping that what happened to Leo is nothing.”

Messi was scheduled to fly to Spain to resolve a tax issue and then rejoin the team in Santa Clara, California.

Hull City secures PL position next season

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: Ross Wallace of Sheffield Wednesday make a break during Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final match between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Mohamed Diame was the hero on the day for Hull City, as the Tigers gain promotion to the Premier League next season.

The Senegalese attacker sent Sheffield Wednesday packing on Saturday afternoon at Wembley Stadium after hitting a scorching long-distance effort past goalkeeper Kieren Westwood in the second half.

After an initial back-and-forth spell of chances over the opening half hour-plus, Sheffield was drastically taken out of the match as Hull began to gain their composure on the ball.

Hull City will join Championship winners Burnley and Middlesbrough in the Premier League in 2016-17 after being promoted. Relegated clubs Newcastle, Norwich City and Aston Villa will take their place in England’s second flight.

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UCL FOLLOW LIVE: Lineups as Atleti, Real duel in finale

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, fights for the ball with Atletico Madrid's Tiago Mendes during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
AP Photo/Francisco Seco
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After their devastating defeat two seasons ago, Atletico Madrid looks for revenge and their first UEFA Champions League title on Saturday against Real Madrid.

Milan will be the site for the action, as Zinedine Zidane and Real are seeking their 11th title in the competition and have the opportunity to knock Atleti out in the title match for the second time in three seasons.

To follow live, click here.

LINEUPS

Real Madrid: Navas, Marcelo, Ramos, Pepe, Carvajal, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema Subs: Casilla, James, Nacho, Lucas Vasquez, Jese, Isco, Danilo

Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Filipe Luis, Godin, Savic, Juanfran; Gabi, Fernandez, Koke, Saul Niguez; Griezmann, Torres. Subs: Moya, Tiago, Correa, Hernandez, Thomas, Ferreira-Carrasco, Gimenez.

Follow @MattReedFutbol