Mexico draws with Uzbekistan despite Raul Jimenez brace

Mexico allowed a 92nd minute equalizer from Otabek Shukurov that handed Uzbekistan a surprising 3-3 draw in a friendly on Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia.

Initially down 1-0 after a well-placed header from Uzbekistan's Bobir Abdixolikov in the 18th minute, Mexico quickly responded with a goal just three minutes later from Fulham striker Raúl Jiménez. Following a pass forward from Edson Álvarez and a poorly-timed shot from Roberto Alvarado, Jimenez pounced on the loose ball and slotted into the back of net to level the score.

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Despite having more shots and a strong majority of possession in the first half, El Tri would slip up once again, allowing Uzbekistan's Azizbek Turg'unbaev to fire home a nice finish moments before the break in the first minute of injury time.

After some tactical changes and roster adjustments in the second half from manager Jaime "Jimmy" Lozano, Mexico began to claw their way back in the final stages of the friendly.

With more attack-minded players like Uriel Antuna, Jordi Cortizo and Santiago Giménez on the pitch, Mexico created dangerous opportunities late into the friendly, eventually leading to another equalizer from Jimenez. Scooping up a poor headed clearance from Uzbekistan, Jimenez tapped the ball into the back of the net, pushing Mexico to a 2-2 draw by the 81st minute.

Raul Jimenez celebrates after scoring a goal for Mexico against Uzbekistan.
Raul Jimenez celebrates after scoring a goal for Mexico against Uzbekistan.
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Lozano's side did well to increase their attacking pressure, later leading to what appeared to be a possible game-winner from Antuna, who deflected a clearance from the opposing defense into the net in the 88th minute.

Unfazed by the goal, Uzbekistan pressed high up the field and earned another injury time scoring chance. With Shukurov standing over the ball for a free kick next to Mexico's 18-yard box, the midfielder launched his shot to the top left corner, giving Uzbekistan a dramatic comeback in the 92nd minute.

"It's a bitter taste. That's the reality because we had already earned the turnaround, I believe with passion, with heart," said Giménez to TUDN after the match.

"We have to be more self-critical and realize that we didn't play a good game," also stated fellow striker Jiménez. "There are many aspects that we need to continue improving. Jimmy's [Lozano] idea is there, you just have to hone it well."

The result leaves Mexico with a pair of draw in the international break for Lozano and his players, after Saturday's 2-2 final against Australia in Dallas.

As for Uzbekistan, the 2023 CAFA Nations Cup finalists have closed out their international window with a loss and tie in hand after losing 3-0 by the United States over the weekend.

Hours before Tuesday's match, Mexico announced a Dec. 16 friendly against Colombia in L.A.'s Memoria's Coliseum. The match will be Mexico's 15th game on U.S. soil in 2023 across all competitions.