After an impressive opening win at the World Cup, Mexico secured another three-point haul to take a huge step toward the knockout stage.
Mexico followed its stunning 1-0 win over Germany with a 2-1 win over South Korea on Saturday to make it two wins in two games for El Tri.
Hirving Lozano was the goal-scoring hero in the opener, while Guillermo Ochoa was brilliant in goal in keeping the clean sheet. It was Carlos Vela and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez on the scoresheet Saturday, staking Mexico to a 2-0 lead, before Son Heung-Min's stellar finish in stoppage time made it interesting in the final moments.
Mexico exited the players' tunnel to another rousing welcome from the traveling support, which belted out another boistrous edition of the national anthem to create a home feeling for El Tri.
On the field, the opening few minutes were a feeling-out process. Mexico had the better of the ball, winning a seventh-minute corner, and a 10th-minute free kick, but little came from either, with hopeful crosses cleared rather easily by South Korea's defense in the box.
South Korea's physical play yielded another free kick chance for Mexico in the 12th minute. Miguel Layun curled in a ball for Chicharito, who got his head to it but directed it wide of the post.
Mexico nearly got caught out a minute later, when Hwang Hee-Chan got to the end line and cut back a cross to the far post, but Lozano hustled back on defense to prevent the cross from finding its intended target, and keeping South Korea's Lee Yong from having a look at goal.
South Korea nearly struck again at the 20-minute mark. After a direct, long ball over the top that Son appeared to handle, the Tottenham standout had two great looks from inside the box blocked by Carlos Salcedo and Hector Moreno.
South Korea was left to rue that missed opportunity, as Mexico won a penalty four minutes later. Andres Guardado sent in a cross that was handled by sliding defender Jang Hyun-Soo, and Vela converted from the penalty spot, making it 1-0 in the 26th minute.
Layun nearly doubled the lead a minute later. After receiving a cross at the top of the box, he fired a right-footed shot that whizzed just above the crossbar, as Mexico looked to ramp up the pressure on its foe.
Mexico saw out the half with its lead, though South Korea offered some warning signs on the counter. It required yet another block to prevent Son from putting a chance from 20 yards on frame, and while Mexico dominated the possession to the tune of almost three quarters of the ball, there were openings for the Koreans on the break.
Mexico put a pair of speculative chances toward the frame in the opening six minutes of the second half, the latter of which came on a rare shot from outside the box by Chicharito, who fired high from 25 yards in the 51st minute.
South Kora nearly equalized in the 56th on a blast out of seemingly nowhere. Ki Sung-Yeung uncorked a 20-yard laser from the left channel through traffic, but Ochoa saw it all the way, batting it down and then claiming the ball on the bounce to preserve Mexico's 1-0 lead.
On the other end, Guardado nearly made it 2-0 on a blast of his own. After creating enough space at the edge of the area, the Mexico captain lashed an 18-yard blast that looked destined to tuck inside the left post, but goalkeeper Cho Hyun-Woo made an acrobatic diving save to his right to keep it out.
Chicharito delivered the much-needed breathing room in the 67th minute. With South Korea committing numbers forward, Mexico was able to get out on the break. Lozano played the ball to the left to Chicharito, who cut back on his defender, got the ball to his right foot and finished from close range to make it 2-0. The goal was the 50th of Chicharito's Mexico career, with the 30-year-old adding to his own national record.
South Korea made it interesting late. In stoppage time, Son hit an unstoppable left-footed blast from outside the box that Ochoa had no chance of saving to make it 2-1.
Mexico saw the match out from there, though, securing the three points and another step in the right direction.
Here were the lineups for both teams:
Here are the rosters for both sides:
Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu (Vissel Kobe), Kim Jin-hyeon (Cerezo Osaka), Cho Hyun-woo (Daegu FC)
Defenders: Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Jang Hyun-soo (FC Tokyo), Jung Seung-hyun (Sagan Tosu), Yun Yong-sun (Seongnam FC), Oh Ban-suk (Jeju United), Kim Min-woo (Sangju Sangmu), Park Joo-ho (Ulsan Hyundai), Hong Chul (Sangju Sangmu), Go Yo-han (FC Seoul), Lee Yong (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)
Midfielders: Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea City), Jung Woo-young (Vissel Kobe), Ju Se-jong (Asan Mugunghwa FC), Koo Ja-cheol (FC Augsburg), Lee Jae-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Lee Seung-woo (Hellas Verona), Moon Seon-min (Incheon United)
Forwards: Kim Shin-wook (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang Hee-chan (FC Red Bull Salzburg)
Manager: Shin Tae-yong
Goalkeepers: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Standard Liege), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)
Defenders: Edson Alvarez (America), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Jesus Gallardo (Pumas), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Miguel Layun (Sevilla), Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Midfielders: Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Erick Gutierrez (Pachuca), Hector Herrera (Porto), Rafa Marquez (Atlas)
Forwards: Javier Aquino (Tigres), Jesus Corona (Porto), Javier Hernandez (West Ham United), Hirving Lozano (PSV Eindhoven), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Oribe Peralta (Club America), Carlos Vela (LAFC)
Manager: Juan Carlos Osorio