Mexico Spoil De Boer Debut With Deserved Win
AMSTERDAM: Mexico handed new Netherlands coach Frank de Boer a defeat in his first game in charge as they enjoyed a deserved 1-0 win over their hosts in a friendly on Wednesday.
Raul Jimenez made up for several missed first-half chances by tucking away a penalty on the hour mark after Nathan Ake had pulled him back in the area.
It was as much as an enterprising Mexican side deserved as they set up numerous chances in contrast to a pedestrian display from the Dutch.
De Boer named debutants Teun Koopmeiners and Owen Wijndal in his first selection, resting regulars with Nations League matches in Bosnia on Sunday and Italy on Tuesday.
But there was little for the coach, who replaced Ronald Koeman, to enthuse over as the Dutch looked limp in attack and committed several defensive errors that offered Mexico chances to score.
Jimenez and Jesus Corona spurned opportunities before the break while the only shot from the home team came when Memphis Depay put Ryan Babel in on goal but he hacked his shot wide.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul, playing his first international in five years, made a key stop in the 55th minute to deny Corona from close range but even with his past record in saving penalties for the Netherlands had no chance saving Jimenez’s spot-kick.
The goal seemed to momentarily wake up the Dutch team but it was Corona who came closest to adding to Mexico’s lead with a shot after a mazy run in the 75th minute that Krul again did well to stop.
Luuk de Jong and Depay missed out on a last-gasp chance for an equaliser with De Jong’s initial header saved and Depay’s follow-up crashing back into play off the crossbar.
“It’s always disappointing to lose but it was best not to play our strongest team,” De Boer told Dutch television.
“But we started poorly, made too many unnecessary mistakes and didn’t get into our own game. Of course we can do better.”
The Dutch will depart on Saturday for their match in Zenica on Sunday while Mexico remain in the Netherlands for a friendly against African champions Algeria in The Hague next Tuesday.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond)