Mexico 1 Cameroon 0: Officials in spotlight again as Oribe Peralta proves the difference
Red-hot striker does it again for Mexicans, who have two goals controversially ruled offside
Oribe Peralta scored a second-half winner in a 1-0 victory over Cameroon in rain-lashed Natal on Friday in a match which once again raised questions over the standard of refereeing at the World Cup.
Miguel Herrera’s Mexico side dominated throughout but went in for the half-time break feeling aggrieved after seeing what looked like two perfectly valid goals chalked off for offside.
Those decisions did little to appease a Mexican media which cried foul after seeing Group A opponents Brazil awarded a questionable penalty in a 3-1 win over Croatia on Thursday.
Watch: Oribe Peralta's match-winner
The possibility of yet another refereeing blunder appeared to have crossed the mind of Herrera, who said afterwards: “I told the boys before the match to keep their focus on our gameplan, whatever happens.
“Human error exists. We have to learn to put up with whatever comes our way. We didn’t think about the referee when we went back to dressing room [at half-time].
“Concentration is essential and the lads did well to keep their composure.”
Cameroon, who only arrived in Brazil after a player strike was averted by last-minute negotiations, had packed their midfield in an attempt to stifle the Mexicans and lone striker Samuel Eto’o failed to find the goal with his few opportunities.
Mexico came out to attack as coach Miguel Herrera had promised and “El Tri” dominated the opening exchanges with wingbacks Miguel Layun and Paul Aguilar getting plenty of space out wide.
Dos Santos first found the net after 11 minutes but was called back despite appearing to be in line with the defenders.
If the decision to deny Dos Santos a first goal could be called a marginal call, the second was a clear error.
A corner swung in from the left was flicked on by one Cameroon defender and, as another raced off the line, Dos Santos managed to turn back and angle the ball into the net with his head.
Mexico finally scored a goal that couldn't be doubted just after the hour mark.
Dos Santos was released through the middle of the Cameroon defence and when Itandje managed to stop his low drive, Peralta was on hand to steer the ball into the empty net and send Herrera and the thousands of Mexican fans into paroxyms of joy.
Cameroon coach Volker Finke admitted his team had found Mexico's 5-3-2 system difficult to crack.
“We had some problems through the middle of midfield in the first 20 minutes or so, but we eventually adapted," he said. "The second half we were better, but overall we’re disappointed.
“We had a few chances to score, and didn’t. They had goals ruled out, but that’s the way it is. Now we’ve got five days before our next match, which will already be decisive for our World Cup.”
Reuters, Agence France-Presse