Jason Minnick

U-17 World Cup: Mexico 2, Congo 1

FC Dallas Home Grown goalkeeper Richard Sanchez backstopped Mexico to a 2-1 victory in a dramatic match against Congo that saw the host nation become the first team to earn a spot in the round of 16 at the U-17 World Cup.

Mexico scored the first goal of the match late in the first half to take the 1-0 advantage into the locker room. Right back Francisco Flores got the assist on the goal when he sent a dangerous cross through the Congolese penalty area. Midfielder Jorge Espericueta collected the ball at the back post and finished the play calmly to give the home team the lead.

The African side dug themselves a little deeper in the second half when defender Cisse Bassoumba was issued a straight red card for a takedown on Mexican forward Arturo Gonzalez. The shorthanded Congo side would battle back to tie the game though, when lone remaining forward Bel Epako took advantage of a defensive miscue and scored from the top of the area in the 73rd minute.

But Congo increased the Mexican advantage four minutes later when substitute Gildas Mpassi was sent off after receiving back to back yellows just six minutes after having entered the game in the 71st.

The home side would make use of the two-man advantage on a play that started with the distribution of FCD home grown goalkeeper Richard Sanchez in the 85th minute. Sanchez delivered a long kick that found Giovani Casillas breaking into the left side of the Congolese penalty area. Casillas sent a low cross to his right that was finished by a sliding Julio Gomez to secure the win five minutes from full time.

The win guarantees Mexico a spot in the round of 16 next week.

In the meantime, Mexico will round out the group stage on Friday, June 24 when they face the Netherlands in Monterrey. The game can be seen live on at 6 p.m. CT.

READ: Mexico defeats Korea DPR 3-1 in World Cup opener

Scoring Summary:
MEX - Espericueta 40'
CGO - Epako 73'
MEX - Gomez 85'

Disciplinary Summary:
CGO - Binguila (caution) 18’
CGO - Etou (caution) 27'
CGO - Bassoumba (sent off) 52’
MEX - Bueno (caution) 69'
CGO - Mpassi (caution) 76'
CGO - Mpassi (sent off) 77’
MEX - Guzman (caution) 90'
CGO - Bidimbou (caution) 90'

Mexico Starting Lineup
Sanchez, Flores (Tostado 80’), Guzman, Briseno, Caballero, Escamilla (Casillas 72’), Espericueta, Gomez, Fierro, Gonzalez (Gracia 46’), Bueno

Congo Staring Lineup
Ngakosso, Bassoumba, Samba, Mabiala, Kouyikou (Mpassi 71’), Sitou (Bidimbou 81’), Binguila, Etou, Mayanith, Epako, Tchibota (Lekandza 55’)