Lozano, Jimenez highlight memorable weekend for the Mexico's Europeos
Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio will likely be happy with the recent weekend. For several of his key players abroad, the last few days have proven to be outstanding. For players such as Hirving Lozano, Javier Hernandez, Marco Fabian and others, there was no lack of game-changing goals, admirable performances, and, most importantly, much-needed minutes.
With an eye on the upcoming World Cup this summer, let's take a look at the latest Heroes and Villains list for the Mexicans in Europe.
A PSV Eindhoven victory wouldn't feel complete without a goal or assist from Hirving Lozano. On Saturday the winger provided both for his Eredivisie club in a 3-2 away win over AZ Alkmaar. Following the match, Opta posted a tweet mentioning that Lozano's 15-goal tally has made him the first PSV player to reach that total in a debut season since Mateja Kezman during the 2000-01 campaign.
15 - Hirving Lozano is the first @PSV player to score 15 league goals in his Eredivisie debut season since Mateja Kezman (24 goals) in 2000/01. Sensation.— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) April 7, 2018
Over in Portugal, Raul Jimenez took advantage of his first league start in 2018. With a massive opportunity to shine, the striker scored both of Benfica's goals in the 2-1 victory on Saturday against Vitoria Setubal.
Despite his lack of minutes for the Portuguese title-holders, the 26-year-old rarely backs down when given a chance to play. Despite less than 600 minutes of league play logged Benfica this season, Jimenez has responded with a noteworthy total of six goals and five assists.
Of course, Lozano and Jimenez weren't the only Mexican heroes to find the back of the net. During Sunday's 1-1 draw between Chelsea and West Ham, Javier Hernandez secured the equalizer for the Hammers with a goal in the 73rd minute. The striker has been clinical when he faces Chelsea; Sunday's match marked the ninth time he has scored against The Blues.
Although he just returned from injury less than two weeks ago, Hector Herrera played a vital role in Porto's 2-0 win over Aves on Sunday. The captain was active during the Primeira Liga clash and finished the game with more passes than any other player on the pitch. Thanks to the victory, and Herrera's contributions, Porto are now only one point behind Benfica in the race to first place. Next week, both sides will meet in what should be the biggest league match of their season.
After several months of worries and doubts regarding his back injury, Marco Fabian played the full 90 minutes for Eintracht Frankfurt in the recent 1-1 draw at home against Hoffenheim. The Mexico international, who looked lively for his Bundesliga side, provided the pass which lead to the assist for Serge Gnabry's equalizer in the second half. What most El Tri fans will be happy about is the fact that the midfielder played a full match for the first time since May of last year.
While Herrera shined on the pitch for Porto over the weekend, Diego Reyes was once again left on the bench. Now back to full health after injury concerns last month, it appears doubtful that the defender will be able to steal his starting spot back from either Ivan Marcano or Felipe. Barring a suspension or injury to either of those aforementioned players, Reyes' probable last start of the season will be during the upcoming Taca de Portugal final against Sporting Lisbon this month.
Finally, we end with Uriel Antuna. Not too long ago, Antuna was a part of the conversation when it came to backup national team options. The 20-year-old was invited to train with El Tri in November, and during that same time, Antuna was also earning a starting role in the Eredivisie with Groningen. Unfortunately, the midfielder has since lost his relevance to not only the national team, but also his club's starting XI as well.
During Sunday's 1-1 draw with Heerenveen, Antuna remained on the bench without any minutes for the seventh time in 2018.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.