PASADENA, Calif. — Peru missed out on a trip to Qatar after a devastating loss to Australia in a penalty shootout, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to bow down to Mexico in its international friendly Saturday (9 p.m. ET, Univision) at the historic Rose Bowl. On the other side, Tata Martino’s squad will have the weight of their rabid fanbase behind them in what will be tantamount to a home game for El Tri’s second-to-last tune-up match before heading to the World Cup in November. Mexico plays Tuesday against Colombia at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
At BetMGM, FIFA’s No. 12-ranked Mexico is a -105 favorite to come out on top Saturday. No. 22 Peru is +310 and a tie is +210.
After Sevilla forward Jesus “Tecatito” Corona broke his fibula during a practice session in August, it left El Tri without one of their best players. Who replaces him is a problem Martino will have to find a solution for in these next two matches. Mexico’s front is also facing a dilemma as a recent lack of scoring has plagued El Tri. Other than a 3-0 win over Suriname in June, Mexico has one goal in its last five matches.
One option already off the table to help Mexico’s attack is LA Galaxy star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who Martino said Tuesday would not be joining the team as he’s decided he’s “simply going with other forwards.” Qatar would have been the fourth World Cup for Mexico’s all-time leading scorer (52 in 109 caps) so Chicharito’s absence will surely be felt. With Raul Jimenez and Rogelio Funes Mori also injured, Martino will have to figure out which combination of Hirving Lozano, Roberto Alvarado, Henry Martin, Santiago Gimenez and Alexis Vega works best.
Ricard Gareca, Peru’s long-time coach, was replaced after the team’s loss to Australia with Juan Reynoso, who led Cruz Azul to the LigaMX championship in May. Reynoso, who is no stranger to Mexican soccer, will look to right ship in his debut led by striker Gianluca Lapadula. Seattle striker Raul Ruidiaz, who has 9 goals this season for the Sounders, will be coming off Peru’s bench.
Mexico opens its World Cup campaign on Nov. 22 against Poland in Group C, which is rounded out by Argentina and Saudi Arabia.
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Mexico vs. Peru live tracker: Updates, highlights and analysis