Scotland lose to Mexico after Dos Santos strike
Giovani dos Santos’ early goal was enough to ensure a victory for World Cup-bound Mexico as Scotland ended their Americas tour with two defeats.
Dos Santos side-footed finish off the inside of a post came after only 13 minutes in the Estadio Azteca.
Miguel Layun and Hirving Lozano were both denied by the woodwork.
So was Scotland’s Oli McBurnie, but it was the hosts who dominated and Oribe Peralta also had the ball in the net only to be pulled up for offside.
Mexico improved on their midweek 0-0 draw with Wales to end their first-ever two-game run without a goal under coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
But they will wonder how they failed to secure a more convincing win over visitors who rode their luck at times but showed more adventure than in their 2-0 defeat by Peru.
This was another tough evening for the inexperienced Scots, who made seven changes from Lima, but their spirit and commitment never dwindled.
Throughout this tour, they have spoken of a belief they could shock either Peru or Mexico, but in practice they fell some way short of achieving such a result.
It was always asking a lot of this young squad to match their far more experienced hosts and falling behind to such an early goal unsettled them after a decent start.
Cheap goals did the damage against Peru and so it was again here, with Carlos Vela and Dos Santos allowed far too much time and space to combine, allowing the latter to pick his spot low down to debutant goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin’s left.
If the heat and the altitude hadn’t done it already, that took the wind out of Scotland’s sails.
They struggled to put meaningful passes together and all too often possession was given up to a grateful home team who needed little encouragement.
When Dylan McGeouch lost the ball on the edge of his own box, Layun fired a terrific effort goalwards, only to see it ricochet off the post to safety.
If McLaughlin was relieved by that, he did well to keep the deficit down by pushing another long-range shot, this time from Lozano, round the post.
McLaughlin was replaced by another debutant at half-time and Scott Bain was quickly into the action to repel the Mexicans again.
Lozano and Hector Herrera both found the Celtic goalkeeper in the way with good saves within a couple of minutes of the restart.
Despite the conditions, the match became very open, with play racing from one end to the other and Scotland came agonisingly close to an equaliser.
Johnny Russell’s inviting curled ball from the right was met superbly by McBurnie, but the same post that denied Layun also frustrated the Scotland striker.
The Mexicans continued to look dangerous on the break and Layun should have scored as Mexico powered forward, but Stephen O’Donnell was well placed to keep out his goalbound shot.
Further carelessness by McGeouch provided the next scare for the Scots. Lozano fashioned the shooting opportunity but watched disbelievingly as the ball crashed off the bar.
When a Lozano header was parried by Bain, Peralta’s celebration after pouncing on the rebound was cut short by an offside flag, while Jesus Manuel Corona’s chip over the goalkeeper was cleared on the line by Charlie Mulgrew.
Although the scoreline could have been more emphatic, Scotland emerge from the game and the tour far from embarrassed.
Manager Alex McLeish can now ponder what he and his staff have learned from the tour ahead of their final pre-Nations League friendly against Belgium at Hampden on 7 September.
For Mexico, who had made eight changes of their own from their draw with Wales, they head to their final World Cup warm-up away to Denmark on the back of a winning send off from 71,000 fans in the Azteca.