The winger set the stage for both goals as El Tri came from behind for a 2-1 win over the Kiwis at the Confederations Cup
On a day Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio chose to rest the likes of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Andres Guardado and Carlos Vela, El Tri needed a difference-maker to step up against New Zealand.
Enter Javier Aquino.
Even as Mexico largely sleepwalked through the first half of the Confederations Cup clash, the Tigres winger was on his game, repeatedly using his pace and control to create danger from the left flank. As El Tri battled back after halftime for a 2-1 win over the Kiwis, it was Aquino who set the stage for Raul Jimenez’s equalizer and Oribe Peralta’s winner.
Here are Goal ‘s full player ratings from Mexico’s triumph over New Zealand on Wednesday in Sochi, Russia:
GK ALFREDO TALAVERA, 7: Bailed out his disorganized back line on several occasions, limiting the damage in a game that, remarkably, could have seen New Zealand jump out to a two- or three-goal lead.
D CARLOS SALCEDO, 6: Made one crucial intervention before departing midway through the first half with an apparent dislocated shoulder suffered in an off-the-ball collision.
D NESTOR ARAUJO, 3: Had the inexplicable giveaway that directly led to Chris Wood’s opener. Trusted with anchoring a three-man back line, he earned the lion’s share of the blame for the haphazard defensive effort before halftime.
D OSWALDO ALANIS, 4: Was too casual defensively, playing his part in a team-wide tendency to lose track of Wood. Got the hook from Osorio at halftime.
M DIEGO REYES, 7: Gamely covered a lot of ground as the defensive midfielder in Osorio’s 3-1-3-3 formation, then added stability to the back line after changing positions for the second half.
M MARCO FABIAN, 6: Provided some clever play and solid work rate in midfield, quickly moving the ball to tee up Jimenez’s equalizer.
M GIOVANI DOS SANTOS, 4: Had a few promising moments early but faded out of the game as El Tri’s attacks flowed through the flanks.
M JAVIER AQUINO, 8: Was the clear man of the match for Mexico thanks to his dynamic play down the left flank, carving out chance after chance. Orchestrated Jimenez’s opener with one mazy run, then set up Peralta’s winner with another.
F JURGEN DAMM, 5: Was active down the right flank but repeatedly lacked the end product, aside from one setup that Dos Santos squandered.
F ORIBE PERALTA, 6: Didn’t offer too much throughout the game but still managed to make the difference, providing a vintage run and one-time finish on the winner.
F RAUL JIMENEZ, 7: Drew Mexico level with a brilliant turn and finish at the top of the box, and would have ended the match with a brace were it not for a goal-line clearance.
D HECTOR MORENO, 4: Could have done better on Wood’s goal after entering for the injured Salcedo, then came off with an apparent leg injury after just 35 minutes on the field.
M HECTOR HERRERA, 7: His calming presence in midfield was crucial to Mexico’s second-half turnaround. Was a bit lucky to avoid a red card for his role in the late-game ruckus, though.
D RAFA MARQUEZ, 6: Brought his usual veteran influence as El Tri closed out the win.