Martino’s men handle business as Mexico defeat Venezuela 3-1

Mexico’s U.S. Tour continued in Atlanta with great success as a capacity crowd saw Mexico defeat Venezuela 3-1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. A whopping 51,834 attended the Wednesday Night matchup that played as both a friendly and a warm homecoming for manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino, who led Atlanta United to their first MLS Cup trophy last season.

It didn’t take long for the action to unfold. Venezuela’s Jhon Murillo struck first with a beautiful long-distance effort in the 18th minute. Mexico would respond quickly with a counterattack to level the score. With the ball just yards from goal, Rodolfo Pizzaro mistimed his step, making him unable to get a clean touch on the ball. He played it off to Roberto Alvarado who launched a rocket past the keeper for goal.

Josef Martinez and Tata Martino during Mexico - Venezuela (Anna Lira)
Venezuelan international and Atlanta United star Josef Martinez greets friend and former Atlanta United manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino and his staff before their friendly match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (Anna Lira/TPR)

Alvarado was hungry for more and led La Selección on a grueling counter in the second half. He sped down the left flank with pace, tried a low cross but the attempt was blocked. As luck would have it, the ball ricocheted back to him, allowing him another chance. The second attempt was clean and found Rodolfo Pizarro for the easy tap-in goal.

In the 76th minute, Carlos Antuna crossed to Andres Guardado who controlled the ball and fired a low shot to the far corner beating keeper Wilker Fariñes.

STATS

Shots  12-11 MEX

Saves  4-2 VEN

Fouls  11-7 VEN

Corners  4-4

Offside  2-2

Mexico will face Ecuador this Sunday, June 9 at 7 p.m. and start their Gold Cup journey Saturday, June 15, against Cuba. Venezuela will face the U.S. on Sunday, June 9, at 2 p.m. and kick-off their Copa América journey Saturday, June 15, at 3 p.m. against Cuba.

 

-Jon J.

Photo: Anna Lira

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