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Pulido hat-trick sees Mexico thump Korea

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Mexico came to the Alamo City on Wednesday night and the fans turned out, setting a San Antonio Soccer record with 54,313 fans turning out to witness El Tri manage a 4-0 victory over Korea Republic.

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Mexico were the better side in the early going, forcing Korea to change from two up front to one, but still looked more content passing the ball around than actually going for the goal.

Mexico really should have had the lead in the 12th minute with Oribe Peralta played through with a wonderful ball across the face from Isaac Brizuela but couldn’t get it in from what appeared to be an offside position.

Korea had a chance of their own in the 16th minute as Lee Keun-Ho was played through but his defender pushed him off balance enough, forcing him to hit the shot right at the keeper, letting the lax defending off the hook.

Mexico were having plenty of the ball after that chance but the Korean defense was solid, leaving Mexico little space for chances, quickly filling the box to congest things for the Mexicans who struggled with so little space.

Korea pulled off a phenomenal set-piece move in the 24th minute as a free-kick fell to an on rushing Kang Min-Soo whose header went over the bar off the turf.

That sparked a little bit of a dominant period for Korea who were all over Mexico for a period, with another chance falling to them just two minutes later as they forced a corner which found Kang Min-Soo whose header was well saved by Alfredo Talavera.

Mexican fans thought they’d hit the lead in the 32nd minute as a slip from Korea allowed space for Carlos Pena to take a shot which went just wide of the post.

Mexico did get their goal in the 37th minute as some wonderful control from Oribe Peralta allowed him to hold the ball up and turn, making it an easy finish from close range to slam the ball home.

Mexico doubled their lead in stoppage time as Korea failed to clear a cross which allowed Alan Pulido to make it two at the third time of asking as Jin-Po park did well to clear it off the line twice, but it was still a simple tap-in for a half-time lead.

Korea were desperately unlucky in the 55th minute as some quick passing saw the Koreans get a close opportunity, only to be denied as Juan Carlos Valenzuela fell on the ball, killing the play and allowing Mexico to clear.

A set-piece gave Korea another chance on the hour mark as Min-Woo Kim hit a curling effort from just outside the box that curled just high and wide.

With the match being a friendly, both sides made full use of their substitutes in the second half which really affected the flow, both teams seemed content with the result.

Late on fatigue took its toll as the Korea defense struggled to deal with a Mexican ball in the box that again allowed a simple tap-in for Pulido to seal his brace.

In the 89th minute Mexico’s numbers rushing forward did it again as three blocks from the Korean defense which saw the ball for to Pulido who ran on and bury it to seal the 4-0 win.

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