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.
[READ: USMNT player ratings. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly]
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.
For a long time, Wolverhampton Wanderers were serial Top Four contenders in England’s top flight, only to participate in just five Premier League seasons since 1984.
[ RECAP: Palace 0-1 Wolves ]
This is that fifth campaign, and Wolves look a more like the former than the latter. Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men are now seventh on the Premier League table after extending their unbeaten league run to six matches with a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Wolves have also drawn both Manchester City and Manchester United this season, a lone loss coming in the second match of the campaign at Leicester City (the side who also handed them a League Cup ouster).
Still, Nuno isn’t trying to get ahead of himself. From the BBC:
“We go game by game – now it is the international break, players can go to their teams, enjoy it and and play some good football. We will work with other aspects of the squad and we go game by game – there are no targets.”
No targets, sure. But the boss gives himself a way a little bit when he talks about the performance of his squad.
“I look at the situation before,” he said. “The base of team was here last season, so everyone knows their tasks. All the squad know their tasks, and with other options for sure the response would be good as well.”
Watford and Brighton are next before a pair of North London opponents in Spurs and Arsenal. A pair of wins before those encounters would surely have Wolves reassessing their targets.
- Wolves haven’t lost since Matchday 2
- Mexico’s Jimenez sets up Doherty goal
- Patricio makes stunning double save
Matt Doherty‘s second half goal sent Wolves’ unbeaten run to six matches with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
El Tri striker Raul Jimenez combined on a 1-2 with Doherty, as Wolves go seventh with 15 points. Palace is 14th with seven points.
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Aaron Wan-Bissaka‘s dribbling wizardry in the right corner allowed him to produced a fine cross that neither Wilfried Zaha nor his teammates could turn into an effort on goal.
At the other end, a Wolves counter had Raul Jimenez in the driver’s seat for a fine chance, but it was wasted as well.
Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey made an amazing save on Jimenez moments later.
Wolves went ahead through Doherty’s near post smash as the clock struck 56, working a 1-2 with Jimenez.
Max Meyer and Jeffrey Schlupp were stunned at the goal line by a terrific double stop by Rui Patricio.
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Five Premier League games are coming your way at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, with Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Everton in action and plenty of tight clashes.
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Let’s see which teams can head off into the international break on a high.
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You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.
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For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.
The schedule for all four games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.
10 a.m. ET: Tottenham vs. Cardiff – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Huddersfield – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Crystal Palace vs. Wolves – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Leicester vs. Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Watford vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
Interim Mexico National Team boss has selected a young squad ahead of a rare pair of friendly matches set to be held this month in Mexico. The El Tri selection features a mix of European and domestic-based players, headlined by Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez and PSV Eindhoven’s Hirving Lozano. But the squad is also noteworthy for who isn’t included.
El Tri regulars Hector Herrera, Javier Aquino, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa, Hector Moreno and Carlos Salcedo were all left off the squad, in addition to the MLS-based big names including Carlos Vela, Giovani Dos Santos and his brother Jonathan. Jonathan Dos Santos was called up for El Tri’s last camp in September but neither Vela (inconsistent play) or Giovani (injuries) have been selected since the World Cup.
[READ: Premier League Club Power Rankings]
With so many veterans missing, it’s a chance for some fresh blood to rejuvinate the squad. While Club America youngster Diego Lainez was not called up this window, a trio of uncapped players with extensive youth national team experience are in the squad: goalkeepers Gibran Lajud (Club Tijuana) and Raul Gudino (Chivas) and defender Josecarlos Van Rankin (Chivas). Jonathan Gonzalez, after sitting out El Tri’s last match against the U.S. Men’s National Team, is also back in the squad.
Jimenez, who featured for Mexico at the World Cup, has two goals and two assists in seven games for Wolves so far this season, delighting the crowd at the Molineux during matches as the Wolves’ No. 9. Jimenez received Man of the Match honors in his last two matches, a 1-1 draw at Manchester United and a 2-0 win against Southampton.
Mexico hosts Costa Rica on October 13 in Monterrey before facing Chile in Queretaro on October 16.