Bhubaneswar, India: The young Mexican team said before the FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 that they wanted to gain some experience. For sure, they did. They also won today’s match against Uzbekistan, enabling them to grab seventh place in the standings. The action continues tonight with the cross-overs which will determine who will join India and USA in the semi-finals.
Both teams entered the pitch with one objective in mind: registering their first success in this tournament. The beginning of the match was a balanced affair with both teams aiming to move quickly towards their opponents’ half. The best scoring opportunity went to the Asian team. On a penalty corner, they shot no less than four consecutive times on target but Mexican goalkeeper Jose Hernandez was outstanding.
Gradually however, the Mexicans increased the tempo and managed to enter into the circle several times, following a nice series of passes. In the final minute of the first half, their efforts were rewarded, first with a drag-flick from a penalty corner by Maximiliano Mendez and, seconds later, a second goal from Alexander Palma.
Down 0-2 at half-time, the Uzbeks entered the second half determined to come back in this game. Despite Jose Hernandez having another brilliant day – he was later elected Man of the Match – they managed to achieve it with two consecutive goals from Gaybullo Khaytboev and Okhunjon Mirzakarimov. The Asian side then took the lead through a penalty stroke taken by Ruslan Satlikov shortly before the end of the third quarter.
Yet, the Mexicans had no intention of leaving without a win and soon they were back in the race for seventh place when they too won a penalty stroke, which was converted by Yamil Mendez. Eventually, Mexico’s captain Roberto Garcia decided the fate of this game, scoring the last goal of this match.
Mexico’s Maximiliano Mendez: “This match was exciting for both teams. We always had our heads up and never gave up because we have to keep pushing in every match. That’s what the Mexican team is! We take a lot of experience from this tournament. We have to continue to train and keep this playing tempo.”
FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019
Result: Uzbekistan 3, Mexico 4 (match for 7th place)
Man of the Match: Jose Hernandez (MEX)
Umpires: Anil Kumar (IND), Dekang Chen (CHN)