Garcia Converts Penalty in 70th to Earn Mexico 2-2 Draw
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) _ Luis Garcia converted a penalty in the 70th minute as Mexico played with a man advantage for the final 33 minutes Wednesday night and earned a 2-2 draw with Ireland in exhibition U.S. Cup ’96.
The game-equalizing goal came 13 minutes after Liam Diash received his second yellow card from American referee Raul Dominguez for failing to put the ball in play fast enough on a restart.
Reserve Irish forward Niall Quinn also was ejected after coming off the bench in the incident, and Irish coach Mick McCarthy was ejected two minutes later for entering the field to argue a yellow issued to David Connolly.
The match was the first meeting between the teams since the 1994 World Cup, when Garcia’s two goals beat Ireland 2-1 at Orlando, Fla., and knocked the Europeans out of the tournament.
Both sides brought entirely new teams. Only four players from the World Cup match took the field Thursday night: Garcia, Joaquin del Olmo and Claudio Suarez for Mexico and goalkeeper Packie Bonner for Ireland.
Mexico basically played with its under-23 national team, preparing for the Olympics, while Ireland also brought in a very young squad as part of its rebuilding program under new coach McCarthy.
The draw before 21,322 gave Mexico the lead in U.S. Cup ’96 with a 1-1-0 record, having beaten Bolivia 1-0 on Saturday in Dallas. Bolivia (1-0-1) and the United States (1-0-1) were in second following Bolivia’s 2-0 victory over the Americans in Washington Wednesday night.
Ireland earned its first point after being beaten by the United States 2-1 at Foxboro, Mass., on Sunday. Bolivia plays Ireland here on Saturday and the United States takes on Mexico at Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday in the final game.
Ireland took a 2-1 lead in the 50th minute. Mark Kennedy sent a long free kick into the penalty area, where Suarez headed the ball into teammate Dulio Davino. The ball bounced off Davino and past goalkeeper Osvaldo Sanchez.
Mexico scored the game-tying goal after Kennedy was called for shoving German Villa on the right side of the area.
Both sides started fast, creating several opportunities in the first 17 minutes despite a persistent, steady rain that plagued the match throughout.
It took until the 40th minute before Mexico took the lead. Francisco Palencia took a throw-in on the near sideline, beat his defender to the end line with two strides and cut a low cross to Garcia, who was standing 2 meters to the right of the penalty spot and beat Bonner with a shot inside the near post.
Ireland replied quickly, equalizing with less than a minute to go in the half. Ian Harte sent a long ball down the left side to Kennedy, who one-touched a cross to Connolly standing at the near corner of the goalbox. Connolly pivoted and rolled a ball past Sanchez just inside the far post.