Mexico welcomes new coach with win

Updated: February 10, 2011, 12:47 AM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Jose Manuel de la Torre was encouraged but far from satisfied with a win in his debut as Mexico's coach.

Javier Hernandez scored in the 49th minute and Edgar Pacheco in the 56th to give Mexico a 2-0 exhibition victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday night in de la Torre's first game as coach of El Tri.

Mexico struggled for a half before breaking through.

"I think it's a good start," de la Torre said. "It's always good to start a new project. You have to keep in mind that we had little time together."

De la Torre was selected to replace Javier Aguirre after Mexico was eliminated from last year's World Cup by Argentina in the second round. De la Torre had coached Toluca, one of Mexico's most successful clubs in recent years.

"We have to improve in different areas," de la Torre said. "That takes time. ... [Bosnia] made you see your deficiencies but also your strengths. We must improve in all areas."

Hernandez, who has become a key player for Manchester United this season, was among five holdover starters from the World Cup loss. Chicharito's goal was his 12th in 22 international appearances.

There was a World Cup feel, or at least sound, for the match, which drew a vuvuzela-blowing crowd of 50,507 to the Georgia Dome. Mexico seized control in the opening minutes of the second half.

Bosnia goalkeeper Kenan Hasagic blocked a penalty kick by Hernandez, but Hasagic was too deep in the net to stop Chicharito's follow-up shot. Hasagic was perhaps a foot behind the line when he caught the second effort from Hernandez that gave Mexico the lead.

Bosnia coach Safet Susic said he didn't agree with the ruling that a Bosnia player pulled down Hernandez from behind to set up the penalty kick.

"Until the first goal the game was equal and in an even game one mistake decides the game," Susic said. "The first mistake was the referee calling a penalty that did not exist. After that, Mexico played well and deserved the win but if we didn't have that penalty kick, maybe the game would go differently."

Mexico goalkeeper Jesus Corona provided an unexpected assist on his team's second goal. Corona's long goal kick past midfield took a bounce over Bosnia's defenders. Hasagic moved up in an attempt to take possession but instead Pacheco won the race to the ball and scored.

Corona frequently had to wade through streams of tissue paper thrown onto the field by fans behind the goal in the first half. The box in front of the net was almost completely white from the streams hurled from the stands after Bosnia's Vedad Ibisevic put the ball in the net in the 17th minute only to have it called offsides.

Corona blocked another shot by Hoffenheim forward in a one-on-one situation in the 31st minute.

Along with Chicharito, Mexico also started four others from the last World Cup game Carlos Salcido, Francisco Rodriguez, Gerardo Torrado and Giovani dos Santos, who was loaned last week from Tottenham to Racing Santander.

NOTES: Grass was installed, temporarily replacing the FieldTurf used by the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. ... A fan wearing only face paint and a jock strap ran onto the field in the 83rd minute and was caught by Georgia State Patrol officers. ... Mexico also played before more than 50,000 in the Georgia Dome in 2009 for an exhibition win over Venezuela. ... Mexico plays Paraguay on March 26 at Oakland, Calif., then faces Venezuela three days later at San Diego.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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