The national teams of Mexico and Chile battled to a 0-0 draw in the first of what will likely be many international friendly matches at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium.
Neither team was able to find their rhythm during the first half of the sold out – 67,145 in attendance – Sept. 6 bout; with the majority of play contained at the midfield, despite both teams putting up a starting lineup similar to the ones seen in Brazil during the World Cup – a competition where Mexico lost 2-1 to the Netherlands and Chile was eliminated by Brazil on penalty kicks in the Round of 16.
Chile’s Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) was the first to take a shot on goal in the 10th minute, but his attempt, directed at the far post, went wide. Seven minutes later, a corner taken by Sanchez went into the mix but was cleared back out to the Arsenal forward. Sanchez sent the ball to Arturo Vidal (Juventus) whose shot was punched over the crossbar by Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa (Magaña).
Mexico’s first try came in the 22nd, with striker Oribe Peralta (Club América) sliding and redirecting a pass wide. Midfielder Giovanni dos Santos (Villarreal CF) got his chance to give Mexico the go-ahead in the 34th where his shot sailed over the crossbar. A minute later, he was given a second chance, but his attempt went wide.
After a sluggish first half, play picked up.
Sanchez took the first opportunity for Chile in the 46th, but his try went straight to Ochoa. Rodrigo Millar (Atlas de Guadalajara) took an open left-footed shot in the 56th that went right into the hands of Ochoa in what became Chile’s best scoring opportunity of the match.
Likewise, dos Santos had a golden opportunity for Mexico in the 64th with right-footed strike outside of traffic, but when he slowed down to let the ball catch up, he injured his hamstring and ended up shanking the shot by sending it over the crossbar.
Javier Orozco (Santos Laguna) missed an opportunity for Mexico in the 67th and charged toward goal in the 80th, but sent his shot right into the hands of Claudio Bravo (FC Barcelona). Vidal sent a shot over the crossbar in the 78th. Both teams had chances within the final 10 minutes, but neither was able to hit the mark and score for their country.
Although the scoreboard said otherwise, Chilean coach Jorge Sampaoli believed that the teams played with intensity usually reserved for a higher level of competition. “It wasn’t a ‘friendly’ game,” he said in Spanish. “We played it like a Copa America game.”
Mexico will play Bolivia on Sept. 9 (after press time) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado. Chile will battle Haiti, also on Tuesday after press time, at Lockhart Stadium in Florida. The next event at Levi’s will be the matchup between the 49ers and Chicago Bears on Sunday, Sept. 14 – the home opener for the 49ers. Visit www.levisstadium.com/events/category/tickets/ for ticket information.