Cesar Huerta
Cesar Huerta

A second-half equalizer from debutant Cesar Huerta earned a 2-2 draw for Mexico against Australia on Saturday in Dallas, Texas.

Australia took the lead in the friendly match through a goal from defender Harry Souttar in the 16th minute. Following a cross from Martin Boyle off a corner kick, Souttar headed the ball past opposing goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

Despite lacking a strong majority of possession, the Socceroos did well to defend in the first 45 minutes and had few issues with maintaining their 1-0 advantage by the half-time whistle.

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Following the break, Mexico were then given a lifeline through a penalty after Keanu Baccus deflected a shot from El Tri’s Luis Romo with his hand in the 18-yard box. With a chance to equalize, forward Santiago Giménez stepped up but failed to score, firing his shot into the woodwork.

Moments later, Australia were given a penalty of their own after Riley McGree was fouled by Romo in Mexico’s box. Boyle slotted the ball into the net during the 63rd minute, raising the scoreline to 2-0 in the Socceroos’ favor.

Mexico then gained another opportunity from the spot after Australia’s Cameron Burgess — another debutant — knocked over Uriel Antuna in the box. Recently stepping onto the pitch as a substitute, Fulham forward Raúl Jiménez made no mistake with his spot-kick, bringing Australia’s lead down to 2-1.

Energized by additional tactical changes made by manager Jaime “Jimmy” Lozano, Mexico continued to increase their attacking pressure, eventually finding the net once again in the 83rd minute off a goal from substitute Huerta in his first match with the national team.

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Galvanized by the goal, El Tri pressured Australia in the dying minutes, but were held to a 2-2 scoreline by the time the final whistle was blown.

“It’s a dream debut, I’m very happy,” Huerta told TUDN after the match. “I want to dedicate this to all of my family and all the people that never stopped supporting [me].”

Draw in hand, Mexico will face Uzbekistan in a friendly next Tuesday, while Australia will have a few weeks to prepare for their next friendly against England on Oct. 13.