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Stern tests ahead for Mexico

 By Nayib Moran

Lozano brings fans to their feet; Hernandez struggles in Prem debut

Hirving "Chucky" Lozano couldn't have asked for a better league debut. He scored PSV's first goal of the new Eredivisie season, and he could have tallied more had the crossbar not denied one of his shots. Wearing West Ham's colors, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez returned to the place that was once called home, Old Trafford, but he faced a different reality, of which will demand a lot of patience and perseverance from Mexico's all-time leading goal scorer.

Here's a look back at the Heroes and Villains from the Mexicans in Europe:


It took Lozano 31 minutes to score his first goal in the new season. Among the thousands of spectators that were in Philips Stadion was none other than Diego Armando Maradona. In more than one play completed by the Mexican winger, Maradona couldn't hide his delight on observing Lozano's great performance in his league debut. PSV beat AZ Alkmaar 3-2 in a match where Lozano received a standing ovation as he stepped off the field in the 84th minute.

A thousand miles away in Pachuca, Lozano's former manager Diego Alonso observed his debut as he was watching Los Tuzos' Under-20 team. Lozano is aware of the high expectations surrounding him, and his new manager Phillip Cocu will play an important role as Lozano adapts to his new home. However, after his first game in the Eredivisie, it was clear that Lozano doesn't want to make his adaptation period any longer and wants to give results right away to prove why he was born to play in the big leagues.

FC Porto played two league games this past week, and Jesus "Tecatito" Corona appeared in the starting XI for both matches. Porto won both games, and even though Corona didn't score, there were certain elements of his game that have evolved and will keep evolving as long as manager Sergio Conceicao keeps giving him significant playing time.

Corona will keep creating most of his plays from either flank, however, it was noticeable that under Conceicao's watch, he will be asked to make more constant appearances through the middle. He will have to increment the number of key passes he gives as he cuts inside, and whenever he sees an opening he will need to become another scoring target inside the box. It seems that this season he will become a more complete forward, and one of his main jobs will be to hone his skills as a No. 10.

Hirving Lozano, left, received a standing ovation -- even from Diego Maradona -- for his performance in his Eredivisie debut.


Hernandez's Premier League debut was a difficult one. The reality is that Manchester United gave a brilliant display to kick off the new season, and the 4-0 loss shed light on the fact that against quality opponents, West Ham will have a hard time creating dangerous plays. None of Chicharito's shots on goal were on target, but that was mainly because the Mexican striker hardly received good balls inside the box.

Chicharito will need to be very patient this season, especially as the team builds more consistency in the attack. It could well be the case that throughout the season, Hernandez will have one clear opportunity to score, and he has to make sure to put it in. In a team like West Ham, his scoring accuracy will need to be high.

After 90 minutes that included excellent saves, Guillermo Ochoa was on the verge of becoming the main reason why Standard Liege was going to leave Sint-Truiden's Stayen with a scoreless draw, but disaster struck in the 92nd minute when Ochoa's bad timing in an aerial play led to Sint-Truiden's winner. Standard lost 1-0 and Ochoa's error directly influenced the final result. Luckily, the season is barely at its early stages, but Ochoa's error highlighted the notion that his decision-making in aerial plays has always been his Achilles heel.

Last season Hector Herrera was almost an immovable player in Porto's XI, but after two league games, the tide has changed because his last two appearances have been coming off the bench. Right now it appears as if Herrera is a fringe player for the Portuguese side, and if that's the case from now until the last day of the transfer window, how much will the possibility of seeing him move to another club increase? At 27 years old, Herrera's career should be showcasing signs of consolidation, but it's not the case. Rather, all signs point that he needs a new start, and that might require to go somewhere else.

Nayib Moran covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @nayibmoran.


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