Mexico triumphed 2-0 over Suriname on Thursday night at Flora Stadium as goals from Johan Vazquez and Damil Dankerlui propelled new head coach Diego Cocca to his first victory with El Tri.
Suriname kicked off strong, forcing the visitors to take on a defensive role while testing goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo. The team saw their first real opportunity in the 18th minute, as Roscello Vlijter fired a rocket from just outside the box to the upper left corner. But the Santos Laguna figure dove perfectly for the save, before firing up the backline for the defensive errors.
As the game progressed, Mexico readjusted to gain the offensive lead and inspire opportunities in the final third. After several close attempts, El Tri finally broke the scoreless draw in the 62nd minute with a free kick from Charly Rodriguez. The Cruz Azul player curved the strike into the box from the left, enabling Johan Vazquez to tap the ball past Joey Roggeveen.
Minutes later, Mexico could’ve doubled the score after being awarded a penalty for a foul inside the box. Feyenoord figure Santiago Gimenez stepped up, but sent the ball over the crossbar to maintain the 1-0 scoreline. But Suriname defender Damil Dankerlui returned a favor by mistakenly putting Uriel Antuna’s cross into the back of the net to double Mexico’s lead.
Diego Cocca commended his side for reacting accordingly when Suriname gained control, adding “we went the wrong way in the first half, but we were able to understand.”
“It was very noticeable, it seems to me that this is an important merit, the game was hard, we went the wrong way in the first half, we were able to understand the game and in the second half they came out to play in the way we had to look for and we found it, we did the goals, we had a penalty, the team was more solid, it had more movement, more ball rotation,” he commented to TUDN after the final whistle.
“For me they are very important preparation matches, because the speed that the rivals have forces you not to make mistakes, we made mistakes several times, we were able to recalculate in some, but it teaches us a lot that we must not make mistakes at these levels. This game was going to be very hard, very exhausting with a seven-hour flight and no time to train.”
El Tri will now return to Mexico and quickly prepare to host Jamaica for the final Nations League match of the March international window on Sunday, March 28.
“When we arrive tomorrow morning we will have a double shift to work with those who stayed, preparing for the game against Jamaica, with the same idea and trying to ensure that more and more everyone can experience the idea we have for the national team,” said Cocca.
Mexico currently leads Group A of the Concacaf Nations League standings, with seven points in three games and a record of 2W-0L-1D to surpass Jamaica and Suriname.