Mexico dashes Gambia

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

Perhaps it was the long green socks clashing with the red uniforms that temporarily threw it off.

More likely, Mexico was caught off guard by the spirited, attacking style of its African opponent Gambia yesterday in the opening U-20 World Cup match for both teams at BMO Field.

But after surviving the early scare and busting with a lineup deep in electrifying strikers, the powerful Mexican side took over for a deceiving 3-0 win.

In what was easily the most entertianing of the three matches played in Toronto thus far, Gambia showed itself to be the latest African nation that is rapidly getting up to speed with the rest of the world.

Undaunted by the reputation of their favoured opponent, the Gambians attacked rather than play keepaway, the desperate approach of so many undermatched teams.

In fact, if it wasn't for the acrobatic play of Mexican goaltender Alfonso Blanco the upstarts could have had a lead at the half. Blanco made two spectacular saves just before the break as the Mexicans wobbled defensively.

But urged on by the pro Mexican crowd -- which did a good job matching the Portuguese contingent earlier in the afternoon -- the eventual winners took control.

In the 57th minute, Giovanni dos Santos took advantage of a loose ball just outside the area and blasted a left-footed rocket into the net. Ten minutes later, Hector Gomez put it away before Jorge Hernandez scored.

Big things are expected from Mexico, the reigning U-17 champions who have many players from that squad in their lineup.

Dos Santos is considered one of the top young players in the world after recently being signed by Barcelona.

Mexico plays Portugal in an intriguing matchup on Thursday at BMO Field.


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