Antuna stars as Mexico does just enough to earn draw vs Germany

El Tri Germany draw

Erick Sánchez (right) watches the ball bounce toward Germany’s net after executing a flying header. His early second-half goal put El Tri ahead 2-1 momentarily. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Cruz Azul’s Uriel Antuna scored for the third straight game and added an assist to help El Tri earn a 2-2 draw against Germany in an international friendly played in Philadelphia.

Mexico fell behind in minute 25 when Luis Romo failed to stick with Antonio Rüdiger on a corner kick and the Real Madrid defender nodded home unmolested at the back post.

Just 12 minutes later, “Chucky” Lozano dribbled to the touch line to the left of goal and slipped a low cross through a pair of legs that Antuna ran onto, one-timing a shot past Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Her Stegen with a left-footed flick from close range.

The team’s went into halftime all even although the Germans had the better of play, controlling possession (71 percent) and forcing two saves from Guillermo Ochoa.

El Tri starts second half with a bang

Just two minutes after the restart, Erick Sánchez had Mexico out in front.

Antuna was given too much room on the right flank and “El Brujo” fired a long cross into the box where “El Chiquito” outmuscled the burly Niklas Süle to bundle the ball into the back of the net.

OK … that description might properly be called an embellishment. Sánchez – just 5’6” – didn’t exactly overpower the 6’5” Sule. Instead the Pachuca star slipped inside Sule and executed a perfect “palomita” (a diving header) to put El Tri ahead 2-1.

Unfortunately, Mexico didn’t have much time to savor the advantage.

Left back Jesús Gallardo nodded off and allowed Leroy San to get behind him. The Bayern Munich playmaker had all day to pick out a target with two teammates charging in at the back post. An initial effort was clawed off the line by Ochoa (if VAR had been in use, it likely would have been ruled a goal) but Niclas Fullkrug was there to bang home the rebound.

The pace slackened the final 20 minutes of the game although a shoving match erupted during a Mexico corner kick with about 5 minutes remaining. Neither team generated another scoring opportunity though a Jorge Sánchez mental error nearly opened the door for David Raum to get a shot but the German sub could not control the centering pass inside the box.

Attention shifts to Copa América qualification

El Tri completed its October calendar with a 1-1-0 record, defeating Ghana on Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, before Tuesday’s tie with Germany in Philadelphia.

Up next for Jaime Lozano and Team Mexico is the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals match-up next month. Although unconfirmed at the time of this writing, it appears that El Tri will face Honduras in the home-and-home series.

Mexico will be favored to advance to the Final Four and in so doing will qualify for the 2024 Copa América. All four Concacaf teams that qualify for the Nations League will receive berths in the Copa América.