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2017 International Friendly, International Friendly
  • Javier Hern├índez (87')
  • Duje Cop (36')
  • Fran Tudor (37')
  • Mile Skoric (77')

Croatia beat Mexico to spoil Hernandez's record-breaking night

Croatia players celebrate after opening the scoring in a friendly against Mexico. Getty Images

Croatia held on to beat Mexico 2-1 in a friendly in Los Angeles on Saturday night, as Javier Hernandez moved into the all-time goal scoring lead for his country with 47th.

A strong Mexico side was troubled early on by a young and inexperienced Croatia team, with Juan Carlos Osorio's XI struggling to create chances and the visitors finding space on the counter-attack.

Croatia nearly opened the scoring just after the 20-minute mark when Jakov Filipovic got free right in front of the Mexico goal and nearly headed Nikola Vlasic's corner kick home.

Oribe Peralta was in on goal in the 26th minute and drew Croatia's Lovre Kalinic off his line, but the Gent goalkeeper did well to scoop the ball up as Peralta tried to dribble around him.

And Croatia would strike first when Guillermo Ochoa was pulled out of position and Fran Tudor beat him to a ball in the box, which he passed across goal to Duje Cop for an easy finish.

Tudor then doubled Croatia's margin one minute later with an amazing individual effort, beating Ochoa to a poor back pass from the Mexico defense, rounding the keeper and firing home from a difficult angle to put his team up 2-0 at half-time.

Osorio made three changes at the break, with Jonathan dos Santos, Andres Guardado and Nestor Araujo coming on, but it had little effect as the second half began.

Guardado came closest with a free kick from distance that Kalinic tipped over the bar, and the Croatian then twice denied Mexico from close range on a Peralta header and a Hirving Lozano toe poke from the rebound.

Hernandez took the field in the 66th minute to rapturous applause from the partisan Mexico crowd in Southern California, with the Bayer Leverkusen forward needing just one goal to surpass Jared Borgetti as El Tri's all-time leading scorer.

Carlos Vela's penetrating run drew a foul from Mile Skoric, who picked up his second yellow card and was sent off to set up a tense closing 15 minutes.

Kalinic's man-of-the-match performance continued as he denied Araujo and Guardado in succession from close range to preserve his clean sheet.

But Mexico would finally score, and it was one for the record books as Hernandez headed home from a Guardado free kick to move onto 47 goals to eclipse Borgetti's record.

However, Mexico couldn't find the equalizer to make Hernandez's record-breaking evening a somewhat bittersweet affair.

Mexico now heads to Denver, Colorado, for a four-day training camp before returning to action on June 1 in New Jersey for another friendly, this time against the Republic of Ireland.

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