Raul Jimenez may have been a bit jet-lagged from his long trip to Mexico from across the Atlantic Ocean, but he certainly didn’t show it, Thursday evening.
Jimenez scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal, dispatching a penalty kick past Keylor Navas as the Mexican Men’s National Team defeated Costa Rica, 3-2, in comeback style in Monterrey. It was the 27-year-old’s 16th goal for El Tri and Jimenez is beginning to cement his role as the main target man, while higher-profile names such as Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez don’t get call-ups.
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It was a back and forth affair in a rare friendly match played within Mexico (in Monterrey) but outside of Mexico City. Former Arsenal striker Joel Campbell’s diving header at the far post put Costa Rica up 1-0 but Victor Guzman equalized on a wonderful volley five minutes later into the upper 90. Costa Rica took the lead again through a Bryan Ruiz penalty kick, only for Club America forward Henry Martin to pull his side level, providing Jimenez the opportunity for his heroics in the 71st minute.
The win breaks a streak of four straight defeats for El Tri, and three straight in friendly matches.
For Jimenez, while it’s a penalty kick goal, it should continue to boost his already sky-high confidence. Jimenez has put in multiple Man of the Match-worthy performances in recent weeks, and he’ll have a chance once he returns to England to make a statement again. Wolverhampton has back-to-back matches in late October/early November against Tottenham and Arsenal.