Mexico claims bronze over Japan behind Cordova star show

Posted at 6:42 AM, Aug 06, 2021

Is turnabout fair play, even 53 years after the fact?

Mexico denied Japan a home soil medal with a 3-1 win at the bronze medal match on Friday in Saitama at the Tokyo Olympics, just as Japan did Mexico at the 1968 games in Mexico City.

Mexico beat Brazil for gold at the 2016 games, while the 1968 bronze remains the lone men for Japan's men soccer.

Sebastian Cordova converted a penalty and had two assists in the win, setting up goals for Alexis Vega and Johan Vasquez.

It was revenge for a 2-1 group stage loss in Saitama and no less than Mexico deserved for a fine tournament.

Kaoru Mitoma scored a terrific goal late for Japan, lacing a high, hard shot near post off a Takefusa Kubo assist.

Mexico went ahead after 13 minutes when Video Assistant Referee spotted a foul (not without the help of embellishment) and Cordova coolly slotted his penalty.

The next two goals were all about set piece service and emphatic headers, as Vasquez's diving effort off a free kick made it 2-0 and Vega's craned header froom distance off a corner made it 3-0.

Kawasaki Frontale star Mitoma subbed into the game and had NBC's Robbie Mustoe questioning how he wasn't a part of the Starting XI, producing several magnificent chances including Japan's lone goal of the game.