Mexico’s Lozano injured in win over Panama

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Mexico claimed three crucial points with a 1-0 win over Panama in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier on Wednesday as Raul Jimenez netted the decider from the penalty spot.

Mexico got off to a slow start due to issues in the midfield and numerous errant passes, complicating matters for manager Gerardo Martino and his side at the Estadio Azteca.

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Panama capitalized on Mexico’s lack of chemistry and pushed forward during the first half, creating a handful of dangerous chances against the home side. Nonetheless, the match remained scoreless once the halftime whistle was blown.

Mexico hit the ground running in the second half and quickly scored through an opportunity from Jimenez, but a check from VAR in the 49th minute correctly ruled it out. Replays showed that Hirving Lozano‘s cross came from just inches outside of the endline.

Unfortunately for Lozano, the winger suffered a shoulder injury that had him stretchered off the field in the 66th minute.

However, Mexico’s fortunes began to turn after Martino made some crucial substitutions.

With Lozano injured, Diego Lainez was brought on in the 66th minute and immediately made impact going forward. In the 69th minute, Julian Araujo and Jesus “Tecatito” Corona were also brought on as additional reinforcements.

El Tri forced Panama further into their own half of the field, and by the 78th minute, Lainez was able to win a penalty for Mexico. Jimenez stepped up to the spot and easily placed the ball past goalkeeper Luis Mejia.

With the victory in hand, Mexico have now closed their recent international window with seven points from three CONCACAF qualifiers. In March, El Tri will wrap up the Octagonal with matches against the United States, Honduras and El Salvador.

Canada, who beat El Salvador later on Wednesday, lead the standings by four points over the second-placed U.S., who are level on points with Mexico but ahead on goal difference.

Panama, who will head into March in fourth in the table, will face Honduras, the U.S. and Canada in their final three qualifiers.

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