Mexico held by minnows Bolivia at Copa America
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera watched in frustration and anger as his side failed to break down minnows Bolivia in a Copa America encounter Friday that ended in a goalless draw.
Herrera was lucky his side did not concede a killer goal in game that left hosts Chile in charge of
Group A after their 2-0 win over Ecuador on the opening day of the South American championship.
He chided his side -- weakened by the absence of star players such as Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, Carlos Vela and Giovani dos Santos -- from the touchline as they failed to break down the world 89th ranked Bolivians.
But Herrera erupted at Paraguayan referee Enrique Caceres for not awarding a penalty when Javier Aquino, Mexico’s most effective player, appeared to be brought down in the 79th minute.
Herrera brought a weakened squad to the Copa America as he is saving his main players for the Gold Cup in the United States next month. But he still insists that Mexico, 29th in the FIFA rankings, are in Chile to win games.
Bolivia always looked vulnerable when under pressure but surprised their stronger opponents on the counter attack and had three outstanding first half chances.
In the 14th minute, Ricard Pedriel flicked a low cross by Swedish based defender Marti Smedberg-Dalence onto the post. Just before the break, Jhasmani Campos fired a left foot shot that Mexico goalkeeper Jose Jesus Corona just tipped over the crossbar. From the resulting corner, veteran Bolivian defender Ronald Raldes just headed wide.
Herrera started to show his frustration as Mexico failed to get a grip on the game in the second half. Mexico midfielder Jesus Corona blasted the ball wide of the goal from close range when Matias Vuoso was well placed in the goal area. Juan Carlos Medina also wasted a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Mexico had their best chance when winger Jesus ‘Tecatico’ Corona put in a perfect cross for Vicente Vuoso. The Argentina-born striker headed at the front post and watched the ball go past the far post before burying his head in his hands. With time running out, the Mexican coach had to be pulled back from the touchline when his side were refused a penalty.
Aquino was well inside the area when Leonel Morales appeared to bring him down. Referee Caceres said no and Mexico were left to rue their missed chances.
“We should have won,” said goalkeeper Corona after. “Now we have to beat Chile to be able to go through. But we have the players and the mindset. It is not over yet.”