EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Oribe Peralta scored two first-half goals, leading Mexico to an easy 4-1 victory over the Ivory Coast in an international friendly Wednesday night.
Mexico won for the first time in four matches in the United States this year. Mexico previously tied Denmark 1-1 in Glendale, Ariz. in January then played to a scoreless draw against Peru in San Francisco in April and to a 2-2 tie with Nigeria at Houston in May.
``This was a great game for us,'' said Mexico head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre. ``The team effort we saw today is a direct result of the teamwork we've seen for the last few days. The team represented themselves well and this positive outcome helps with confidence. It prepares us for the next few games and the World Cup qualifiers.''
Peralta scored in the 28th minute and again in the 45th. The Mexicans received an own goal in the 10th minute to start the scoring, set up by a play in front by Peralta when Ivory Coast defender Arthur Boka inadvertently put Peralta's shot past his own goalie, Boubacar Barry. Angel Reyna capped the scoring with a goal in the final minute of regulation for Mexico.
Ivory Coast could not muster much offense and got its goal off a penalty kick from Didier Drogba in the 61st.
``We were missing the spirit and drive tonight and I don't know why,'' Ivory Coast head coach Sabri Lamouchi said. ``We never give up four goals. We could not stop Mexico tonight. It's just not our level. We have to raise it a level. We didn't represent the Ivory Coast or Africa well tonight.''
Mexico had the first good scoring opportunity just 1:45 into the game when Giovani Dos Santos' hard shot sailed just wide right of the goal. Three minutes later, Dos Santos had another good shot, but Barry punched it away with both fists.
In the 10th minute, Ivory Coast made the first of its many first-half mistakes. Peralta made a fine move between two defenders, then put a shot toward goal that Boka put directly into his own net with his right foot, giving Mexico the lead for good.
In the 28th, Peralta was alert in capitalizing on a bad back pass from Ivory Coast midfielder Jean-Jaques Gosso, knocking the ball past Barry from eight yards out to push the lead to 2-0.
Ivory Coast's lone chance to score in the first half came in the 41st when Mathis Bolly went past three Mexican defenders to put a left-footed shot toward the goal, but Mexican goalie Jesus Corona made a fine save.
``Our players had the opportunity to show what they could give to our national team,'' de la Torre said. ``It's a reflection of the hard work they've put in. They all contributed. It was a team effort. To get a result like this one today, you need everyone.''
Peralta put a capper on his brilliant first half, successfully trailing the play before taking a nice crossing pass from Dos Santos and heading it home with just 12 seconds remaining in the half.
In the second half, Mexico kept up the pressure and nearly had a fourth goal. Reyna made a series of sensational crossover moves - much to the delight of the partisan Mexican crowd of 35, 671 - faking his way past two defenders before firing a shot into the net that was negated by an offsides call.
``It was very important for us to get this win,'' Reyna said. ``It definitely builds confidence. We played well. It was important for us to play together.''
In the 61st minute, Drogba took a direct free kick that was ruled a hand ball in the penalty box. Drogba then took the subsequent penalty kick and fired it past Corona for Ivory Coast's goal.
Reyna made another crisp move in the 89th, managing to get past two defenders and score the final goal of the match.
``It was a great moment for me to get the goal,'' Reyna said.