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Mexico, Ochoa show promise against Nigeria

Guillermo Ochoa had an outstanding game against Nigeria.
Guillermo Ochoa had an outstanding game against Nigeria.

The Mexican national team played to a scoreless draw against Nigeria at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in their only official FIFA date exhibition game prior to the Brazil 2014 World Cup. The game was a goalkeeper’s duel with Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa defending the Mexican net at his best. Nigeria began the game with Austin Ejide and replaced him with normal starter Vincent Enyeama in the second half. Both keepers had an outstanding match for the eagles.

The fact that it was a FIFA date meant that the coaches could pull all their players from their respective clubs. Both teams fielded world class talent who practice their trade in teams around the world. The Nigerian national team placed Victor Moses of the English Premier League’s Liverpool FC, along with John Mikel Obi of Chelsea FC in the midfield.

Miguel “Piojo” Herrera gave AC Ajaccio goalkeeper Ochoa the chance to make his case to guard El Tri’s net at this summer’s tournament. Also on the pitch for Mexico were Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez of Manchester United, and Hector Herrera of Portugal’s FC Porto. All players, regardless of league they participate in took advantage of the opportunity their coach gave them giving the fans a fast-paced encounter with a lot of near-misses.

Mexico was dominant on the field hitting the Nigerian goalkeepers from all directions. Oribe Peralta of Club Santos Laguna was a constant threat to both Nigerian keepers. Raul Jimenez received the opportunity in the second half and put Enyeama in a couple of tight binds.

If anyone doubted Ochoa as a top choice to start during the world cup, the former Club America keeper silenced his critics. With shot after shot coming from strikers Emmanuel Emenike and Ahmed Musa, Ochoa kept his composure practically punching his ticket to Brazil.

Domestic league players also had the opportunity to present their case for the chance to travel to Brazil. Carlos “Gulit” Peña had a few minutes towards the end of the game, but made a difference moving past the powerful African players. Paul Aguilar of America was also constant in recovering and running the ball down the wings to put the Nigerian defense on alert.

Andres Guardado of Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen and Hector Moreno of Spain’s RCD Espanyol also had a good showing. Guardado has had little field time since his transfer to the German side, Moreno is a constant player on Javier Aguirre’s squad.

The Mexican national team is scheduled to take on African side Cameroon, host Brazil and Croatia during the world cup.

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