Mexico winger Hirving Lozano took advantage of an awful mix-up in the Russian defense to score an extraordinary goal which gave his side a 2-1 win and knocked the Confederations Cup hosts out of the tournament on Saturday.
Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev completely mis-read the situation after Hector Herrera sent a looping clearance 80 meters downfield from the edge of the Mexican area seven minutes into the second half.
The ball bounced once about 25 meters from the Russian goal and, as Akinfeev and his defense dallied, Lozano bravely nipped in to head the ball over the goalkeeper from the edge of the area to send the CONCACAF champions into the semi-finals.
Russia had raised the hopes of their fans by taking a first-half lead through Alexander Samedov but were quickly pegged back by Nestor Araujo’s equalizer on the half hour.
Russia’s early exit from was another setback for next year’s World Cup hosts who also went out of last year’s European Championship at the group stage, when they failed to win a game and were regarded by many as the worst team in the tournament.
Russia’s afternoon was completed in the 68th minute after Yury Zhirkov was sent off for elbowing and they were only saved further embarrassment by the video assistant referee who disallowed a third Mexican goal for offside.
The video replay was also used in the 17th minute after Russian forward Fedor Smolov went down in the box after he appeared to come into contact with Araujo but the referee ruled against a penalty.
Mexico dominated possession early on but Russia went ahead fortuitously when Samedov beat goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa just inside the far post after Mexico had failed to clear a header and midfielder Aleksandr Erokhin missed the ball as he was trying to shoot…