14 Nov 2013

All Whites lose 5-1 at the Azteca

2:28 pm on 14 November 2013

New Zealand have a near-impossible mountain to climb to qualify for a second straight football World Cup next year in Brazil, after losing 5-1 to Mexico in their qualifying playoff first leg.

The All Whites must now score at least four goals in the return leg in Wellington and hope the Mexicans don't score if they're to have any chance of qualifying for the finals next year.

As well as the scoreline, the New Zealanders will be without three players next week in the capital, after striker Chris Wood, the veteran Ivan Vicelich and fellow defender Leo Bertos were all yellow carded.

That means the trio will have to sit out next Wednesday's match at Westpac Stadium, as their second yellows in World Cup qualifying mean an automatic one-match suspension.

It was all Mexico in the first half, the hosts scoring twice late on at the giant Azteca stadium, then again shortly after the break, dominating possession and putting the All Whites, playing in black, under huge pressure in front of 105,000 vocal fans.

That pressure was eventually rewarded with the opening goal on 31 minutes to Mexico's Paul Aguilar, after goalkeeper Glen Moss collided with Andrew Durante as the defender headed the ball, and Aguilar nipped in to score.

It was a shame for Moss, who had made three brilliant saves before that and went on to make five more key stops.

Another Mexico goal was ruled offside before Raul Jimenez headed Mexico's second off a corner.

Olympic hero Oribe Peralta, who scored both goals against Brazil in last year's London final, got his second with 10 minutes to go and his captain Rafa Marquez scored his country's fifth goal three minutes later.

But there was a glimmer of hope a minute later for the hapless visitors, as Chris James scored a left-footed goal after fellow substitute Rory Fallon's deflected header fell to him in the area.

However that was it for the goalscoring and, most likely, the All Whites' chances of playing in Rio.