deserved points following a 1-0 win against Cameroon at Arena das Dunas,
Natal on Friday evening.
Oribe Peralta scored the only goal of the game just past
the hour-mark, though the Central Americans would have felt aggrieved at
not having been awarded a goal in the first half, when twice they were
denied by the offside flag.
Mexico started well and created a lot of space down the flanks, with Paul Aguilar and Miguel Layun particularly influential.
The first shot on target came from Layun as his effort from the edge
of the area deflected straight at Charles Itandje in goals, before the
first contentious moment on 11 minutes.
Dos Santos made a seemingly perfectly-timed run into the area to bury a
cross, but the assistant referee ruled the effort offside. Replays
suggested the former Tottenham Hotspur striker was onside.
It seemed to be the wake-up call Cameroon needed as they finally strode forward with some purpose.
First Eric Choupo Moting had the ball in the net but it was ruled out
as Samuel Eto’o was well offside, before Hector Moreno produced a great
last-ditch tackle to deny the Chelsea striker.
Eto’o then hit the woodwork on 22 minutes after a great run and
cutback by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, but then the pendulum swung back
Rafael Marquez – who became the first player ever to lead his country
at four World Cups – took a free header off the perfectly-placed Hector
Moreno, before Dos Santos had another goal ruled out for offside.
The Mexicans continued their dominance after the break, while
Alexandre Song was fortunate not to be red-carded for a two-footed lunge
on the unfortunate Dos Santos.
Cameroon came within inches of taking the lead on 59 minutes when
Assou-Ekotto’s free-kick deflected off the wall and went inches wide,
but then the decisive moment two minutes later.
Again it was Dos Santos who burst into the box and took a shot, but
Itandje produced a fine save down to his right. However, the rebound
fell to Peralta, who made no mistake in slotting onto an empty net.
Cameroon pushed hard and had a point-blank header from Benjamin
Moukandjo saved five minutes from time, while Guillermo Ochoa produced
another fine save moments later.
Substitute Javier Hernandez misseda sitter from close out in stoppage-time, but Mexico had done enough to earn the three points.