Argentina see off Mexico
Tevez & Higuain see Argentina through
Last Updated: June 27, 2010 10:01pm
Tevez celebrates his opener
Argentina set up a quarter-final meeting with Germany after a controversial 3-1 win over Mexico in their last 16 clash in Johannesburg.
Carlos Tevez controversially headed Argentina in front after 26 minutes when he nodded home Lionel Messi's chip despite appearing to be offside.
Mexico players protested to the officials, but referee Roberto Rosetti awarded the goal after consulting his assistant.
Argentina were gifted their second goal on 33 minutes when Ricardo Osorio gave the ball away to Gonzalo Higuain and he scored his fourth goal of the tournament.
As the players left at half-time a number of players and coaching staff from both sides squared up to each other before they were finally sent down the tunnel.
Tevez grabbed his second of the contest on 52 minutes with a stunning effort from the edge of the box which flew past Mexico keeper Oscar Perez.
Javier Hernandez pulled a goal back for Mexico 19 minutes from time with a superb turn and finish, but it proved too little too late as Argentina booked their place in the last eight.
Until Tevez's opener Mexico had looked the better side in this clash between the Latin Americans who had fought out a terrific contest at the same stage of the 2006 finals.
That went to extra time but once again Javier Aguirre's men showed themselves to be a classy but unfortunate outfit.
Two incidents within the opening 10 minutes had Argentinian hearts in mouths. First Carlos Salcido crashed in a thunderous drive from 30 yards that Sergio Romero just touched onto the crossbar, then an equally terrific strike by Andres Guardado whisked agonisingly past the post.
For Argentina, Messi, still looking for his first goal of the tournament, had two efforts from similar positions on the left of the area, but one was blocked and the other easily held by Oscar Perez. Messi should perhaps have passed to an unmarked team-mate - maybe that elusive goal was haunting him.
Hernandez, who increasingly looks an astute signing by Sir Alex Ferguson, turned away from his marker and slammed a shot wide but then came Tevez's offside goal and Mexico lost their heads.
First skipper Rafael Marquez earned himself a needless booking for showing his frustration, then there was real calamity when Osorio scuffed a pass across the edge of his own box, Higuain seized onto the ball and kept his cool to round Perez neatly and slide home.
Salcido raised Mexican hopes with another long-range strike, this time parried by Romero, before Angel di Maria and Tevez nearly scored but were kept at bay by desperate blocks.
Higuain really should have made it 3-0 but somehow the Real Madrid striker put a free header wide from only six yards out.
There was an unseemly melee around the officials as the teams left the pitch at half-time, with Maradona finding himself in the unusual position of peacemaker.
Any hopes Mexico had ended soon after the restart thanks to Tevez's 52nd-minute blistering strike into the top corner from 25 yards out.
EmbraceTevez ran to the bench for a wild embrace with Maradona that seem to last an eternity.
It was left to Hernandez to rescue some pride for Mexico. The 22-year-old had just sent a header over despite being unmarked, but then he left Martin Demichelis standing with a superb turn and lashed the ball high past Romero to give Mexico a slim lifeline.
It probably shaded Tevez's strike and will go down as one of the goals of the tournament.
Argentina shut up shop after that and Mexico barely had another sniff.
Messi's increasingly desperate search for a goal continued as Perez denied him in injury time.
As for Maradona, his amazing story continues.
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||5|
|3||Shots off Target||10|