Live Commentary: Mexico 1-2 Greece - as it happened

Live Commentary: Mexico 1-2 Greece - as it happened
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Sports Mole's live coverage of the Under-20 World Cup clash between Mexico and Greece.

Mexico went into their FIFA Under-20 World Cup opener against Greece as one of the pre-tournament favourites for success, thanks largely to a strong pedigree at youth level.

Greece are playing in this tournament for the first time and got off to a dream start thanks to Andreas Bouchalakis, who opened the scoring from close range.

Mexico levelled before the break through Jonathan Espericueta but fell to a surprise late defeat, with an 89th minute thunderbolt from Dimitrios Kolovos proving enough to earn Greece all three points.

Look back at a dramatic start to the tournament for both sides with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary below.


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3.33pmAfternoon international football fans. Thanks for joining Sports Mole as our coverage of the Under-20 World Cup continues with the Group D opener between Mexico and Greece in Gaziantep, Turkey.

3.35pmI fully expect a swarm of scouts from Europe to be watching with interest this afternoon as Mexico begin the tournament. Under-20 coach Sergio Almaguer has a side full of exciting, attacking talent after largely sticking with the crop that achieved success at Under-17 level in 2011.

3.38pmMexico have a few impressive youngsters hoping to follow the likes of Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela into the full side ahead of next summer's World Cup finals. Jesus Corona is a player that has developed a reputation as a winger with pace to burn, while prolific forward Marco Bueno came close to joining Liverpool three years ago.

3.41pmGreece come into their first ever Under-20 finals full of confidence after a strong showing at the last European Under-19 tournament in Estonia, where they reached the final. Bayer Leverkusen fans will be keen to track the progress of full-back Kostas Stafylidis, who signed a deal with the Bundesliga giants earlier this summer.

3.44pmTEAM NEWS! Mexico are just about at full strength for today's opener, with Bueno and Corona both starting in attack. Greece are without a host of their preferred starters including attacking midfielder Charis Mavrias, with Dimitris Kolovos leading the line in a lone front role. A full look at both teams will follow shortly.

3.47pmMEXICO: Sanchez, Briseno, Abella, Hernandez, Marin, Corona, Espericueta, Escoboza, Trevino, Luna, Bueno

3.50pmGREECE: Kapino, Bougaidis, Kourmpelis, Triandafillopulos, Stafylidis, Konstantinidis, Mpalas, Bouchalakis, Gianniotas, Kolovos, Diamantakos

3.53pmToday's match is the pick of a busy day of action on the tournament's second day, with four matches taking place as Group's C and D get underway. Mexico are definitely the favourites to claim top spot in their section, with Mali and Paraguay the other sides to feature in a relatively soft group.

3.56pmPREDICTION! It will come as little surprise that I am tipping Mexico to triumph this afternoon. Almaguer's side have conceded just once in their last five competitive matches, and with Bueno and Corona in form at the other end Greece may be forced to defend for long spells. Bueno should definitely get on the scoresheet, I'll go for a 2-0 Mexico victory!

3.59pmBoth sides are out at the Kamil Ocak Stadium, with a smattering of Mexican fans helping their side belt out a passionate version of the national anthem. We are just about ready to get underway in what promises to be a hard-fought encounter that represents a clear clash of styles. Will Greece be able to combat the pace and technical ability of Mexico's impressive lineup? We are about to find out!

3 minMexico get the match underway in a changed all-black strip, shooting from left to right. El Tri are quick to attack in the final third and win an early corner kick, but Espericueta's cross towards the near post is headed clear with authority.

6 minGreece have settled and win a corner kick of their own through Gianniotas, who takes himself after forcing an early routine save from Sanchez. The Europeans fail to make the most of their set-piece opportunity, with Mexico able to find touch and then break down the right flank through Luna.

9 minMarin attempts a clever long diagonal towards Luna, with Corona able to pick up the pieces and fire towards goal. His shot has power but is central enough for Kapino to read the danger, with another effort less than a minute later also flying wide.

12 minEspericueta has gone down heavily after a strong challenge for the ball with Kourmpelis, with the midfielder thankfully fine to continue after a brief period of treatment. Both sides are just struggling to establish sustained possession at this stage, with Mexico looking dangerous down both flanks.

15 minMexico seem happy to try their luck from range at this stage, with Luna the latest player to drive a low strike wide from all of 30 yards. The American born winger has looked bright in the early exchanges and looks very comfortable in possession.

17 minOFF THE LINE! Mexico have gone within inches of taking the lead through Briseno, who beat Kapino to the ball from a corner kick to turn towards the ball. A trickling ball looked destined to cross the line but was turned clear by a last-ditch interception from Stafylidis, who made a crucial interception on the line to somehow keep this match goalless.

19 minGOAL! Mexico 0-1 Greece (Bouchalakis)

22 minAnd within a minute of clearing off their own line Greece have broken the deadlock with a swift, ruthless counter attack. Diamantakos broke clear with a clever run out wide before turning across goal towards Bouchalakis, who beat the offside trap to slam home from close range. Mexico may have started brightly but now trail, thanks to a combination of slack defending and incisive play from the Greek underdogs.

25 minMexico have responded positively and work a clever cross to the far post in search of Luna, but the winger's attempt at a volley is sliced well wide. Greece are quick to mount a counter once more down the left wing, with Kolovos seeing a strong appeal for a free kick turned down just outside the penalty area.

28 minEspericueta gets his fourth chance to deliver a quality cross with a corner kick, but fails to beat the near post with his looping pass. Greece then decide to control possession deep inside their own half before breaking forward with pace through Gianniotas, who wins a dangerous free kick just wide of the penalty area.

31 minSanchez comfortably claims a rather tame cross into the penalty area, with the keeper quickly called into action once more as he comes off his line with speed to cut out a long pass. Mexico then break down the wing through Luna, who is unable to get past a strong challenge from Stafylidis.

34 minGreek striker Diamantakos is causing his marker Briseno problems with his physcial presence, using strength to win a free kick around 30 yards from goal. A common theme in this match continues with the following ball into the box well below par, allowing Abella to head clear.

37 minThe Greeks look happy to sit deep and defend their narrow advantage until the break, with long passes chased down with enthusiasm by lone striker Diamantakos. Mexico are probing with possession as Marin's diagonal ball finds Corona, but the winger is stopped quickly by a robust tackle from Triandafillopulos as his frustration continues.

40 minA terrific cross from Luna deep into the penalty are somehow avoids a lunging dive from Bueno, with Greece able to scramble clear as Corona attempts to meet the loose ball at the back post.

41 minGOAL! Mexico 1-1 Greece (Espericueta)

43 minEspericueta has finally shown the class that saw him shine at last summer's Olympics, guiding a wonderful free kick into the top corner from 20 yards. Kapino had no chance of stopping that sweetly-struck effort, which draws Mexico level just before the break. You felt that Greece were desperate to maintain theri advantage going into half-time, but have failed to reach that goal as El Tri draw level.

45 minMarin is forced to turn behind just behind for a corner just before the break, with Bougaidis unable to connect cleanly with an inviting cross at the far post. Greece need to make more of their clear physical advantage from those set-piece opportunities if they are to achieve a positive result this afternoon.

4.49pmHALF-TIME Mexico 1-1 Greece

4.52pmWell on the balance of play a 1-1 stalemate at the break is probably just about right. Mexico have dominated possession but failed to create much in the final third, while Greece look happy to sit deep and break in numbers on the counter.

4.55pmI talked about the quality of Mexico forward Bueno before the match began, but the clinical striker has been starved of service throughout the first period. Greece have a powerful outlet of their own in Diamantakos, who showed his attributes in setting up Bouchalakis for the opening goal.

4.58pmYou have to feel Mexico coach Almaguer will be largely disappointed with that first-half display, despite Espericueta's eye-catching equaliser. One of the pre-tournament favourites have lacked cohesion in possession, with only Luna threatening with any consistency in the final third.

5.01pmFor Mexico to stamp their authority on the second half you feel that Corona and Bueno need to get better service in the final third. El Tri look most dangerous when attacking in wide areas, with a pair of pacy full-back's happy to roam forward on the overlap. I expect a cautious start to the second period from Greece, with the priority to maintain parity at all costs.

5.04pmBoth sides are making their way back out for the second period, with the pressure very much on Mexico to chase a winning goal that would confirm their place as the side expected to top Group D.

48 minGreece get the match back underway, with Mpalas quick to drive forward and smash towards goal from 35 yards, winning a corner kick for his efforts as Sanchez tips wide. A deep effort from Stafylidis is a massive disappointment from the corner, with his looping cross missing a packed penalty area altogether.

51 minJesus Corona shows trickery and quick feet to create space inside the penalty area, with his curling effort towards goal eventually drifting wide of the target. Espericueta then combines with Corona down the wing, but the winger just runs the ball out of play. Finally signs of life from the talented midfielder in this second half!

54 minSAVE! The Greek defence decide to back off and let Corona shoot from 30 yards, nearly paying a heavy price in the process. Corona takes aim with a powerful strike, but his effort stays central enough for Kapino to parry wide with a strong double-handed stop.

57 minBueno holds off a late challenge from Triandafillopulos to win a free kick, giving Espericueta another chance to create danger with a ball into the penalty area. Greece are quick to clear and break forward menacingly through Gianniotas, who forces Sanchez into a brilliant double-save from close range. That stop could prove to be absolutely vital for Mexico as this match starts to open up.

60 minSUBSTITUTION: Mexico have decided to make a surprising change in midfield, with Luna replaced by a more conservative option in Raul Lopez. After a bright start Luna tired quickly after the break, and with three games in a week that change is probably looking at the latter stages of the competition.

63 minCorona sends a pair of crosses towards striker Bueno in the penalty area, but each time Greece are able to head clear as Trevino fails to pick up the pieces just outside the penalty area. Mexico are still searching for that killer pass in the final third, with the Greeks offering stubborn resistance with a compact rearguard.

66 minCHANCE! Lopez almost has an immediate impact from the bench as he meets a header from Bueno unmarked at the far post. The midfielder meets the ball at an awkward height, eventually flashing well over the bar from close range!

69 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Mexico have made their second change, swapping Escoboza for Gonzalez. Greece have also opted to introduce fresh legs in midfield for a final push, with Fourlanos replacing the goalscorer Bouchalakis.

72 minA superb piece of skill out wide from Kolovos sees the Greek winger drift inside his marker before flashing a teasing ball into the penalty area. His efforts are aimed towards Diamantakos but Briseno is able to intercept with an important header. Just a reminder there for Mexico that they must remain vigilant at the back, or risk leaving this match without a point to show for their efforts.

75 minMISS! An early contender for miss of the tournament as somehow Corona manages to head wide from around four yards out. The winger was picked out wonderfully by a deep cross from Lopez, but with the goal at his mercy seemed to hesistate as his effort flashed over the crossbar. By far Mexico's clearest opening of the second period, but unfortunately an early contender for miss of the tournament!

78 minPENALTY APPEAL! Gianniotas is absolutely convinced that Greece should have been awarded a penalty kick, and on first look he definitely has a case. The winger's chip into the box seemed to strike Briseno's arm, but the official from New Zealand was poorly positioned and decides to wave away strong Greek protests.

80 minSUBSTITUTION: Greece have made a positive change as Lykogiannis replaces the impressive Gianniotas. The pacy playmaker is nicknamed the 'Wolf' in his homeland and comes with a glittering reputation, but has just under 10 minutes to make a telling contribution.

83 minSHOT! Lopez continues his lively introduction to the match by firing a free kick just wide from 30 yards, with Kapino diving low to his right to make sure the effort is past the post. Mexico then make their final change of the match as Van Rankin comes on for a clearly struggling Trevino.

86 minSUBSTITUTION: Heading into the final few minutes Greece make their last change, with lone striker Diamantakos given a well-earned rest. The number nine is replaced by tall striker Ranos, who should provide a fresh outlet to hit long in the closing stages.

88 minSAVE! Have Mexico just spurned their final chance to claim all three points? Bueno deceived his marker with a clever turn inside the penalty area, but with a chance to shoot from close range sees his powerful, low effort turned wide by a block from Kapino.

90 minGOAL! Mexico 1-2 Greece (Kolovos)

90 min+1What an incredible finish to this Group D opener, with Greece taking the lead just before stoppage time. Kovolos was allowed time and space to shoot from 20 yards after beating Briseno and punished Mexico to the maximum, slamming a powerful effort into top corner with authority. What a moment for the Greeks, who have worked hard to stay in touch and look to be rewarded with all three points!

90 mim+3YELLOW CARD! Quite incredibly the referee has found five additional minutes to add on the end of an entertaining match. Greek keeper Kapino is clearly unhappy and decides to waste time at the first possible opportunity, taking an age to send his goal kick forward. He is booked as a result but will surely care little if his side can hold out in the closing stages.

90 min+5Corona has one final effort as the ball pops up invitingly outside the penalty area, with his volley sliced horribly wide. That should just about do it!

5.55pmFULL-TIME Mexico 1-2 Greece

5.57pmWell that is definitely a shock result as a spirited Greek team beat Mexico thanks to a late Kovolos strike. Mexico were much fancied before this tournament but now face an uphill battle to qualify from Group D, with Greece starting their first ever Under-20 World Cup in some style.

5.59pmWith games against Mali and Paraguay to come for both sides Group D now looks finely poised, with only the top two guaranteed to qualify for the last 16 in Turkey.

6.01pmThat just about does it for Sports Mole's coverage of an entertaining encounter at the Under-20 showpiece, but be sure to keep in touch for unrivalled coverage of the youth tournament from Turkey over the next two weeks. Good afternoon!

Andrea Pirlo
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