A second string Ghana side put up an impressive display but suffered a 1-0 defeat in the friendly against Mexico in Houston on Wednesday night.
A first-half penalty converted by Elias Hernandez helped the Mexicans to the victory at the NRG Stadium.
Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah gave several players on the fringes of the squad the chance to impress before the 37,617 fans who watched the game at the stadium.
The Black Stars fluffed five scoring chances with Frank Acheampong, Majeed Waris and Rahpael Dwamena all had the opportunities of drawing the West Africans level.
With its top squad gearing up for a FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final against the reigning world champions in Sochi, Mexico’s “B” team held its own against Ghana at NRG Stadium.
The Black Stars tested El Tri all match long – outshooting their opponent 19-8 – but a Mexican side made up of the top players in Liga MX willed itself to a 1-0 victory in the penultimate contest of its 2017 U.S. Tour.
The game-winner materialized in the 31st minute, when Mexico’s Jesus Gallardo sprinted down the left wing and drew a foul just after entering the 18-yard box.
Midfielder Elias Hernandez stepped up to take the ensuing penalty kick and buried the ball to the left corner of the net. The score, which came in the 32nd minute, put El Tri ahead for good.
Ghana opened the match with one of its best scoring chances of the night in the very first minute. A through ball to forward Majeed Abdul Waris led to a point-blank shot on Mexican keeper Moises Munoz, who managed to get a hand on it and keep the game scoreless.
The sequence set the tone for what would be a fast-paced, high-intensity friendly in front of an NRG Stadium crowd of 37,617.
The Black Stars continually found ways past the Mexican backline in the first frame, registering six shots on goal to Mexico’s three and nine total.
But Ghana’s nine first-half fouls allowed El Tri to maintain possession for much of the period, despite producing fewer chances.
Munoz was replaced as Mexico’s goalkeeper in the 36th minute by Jesus Corona after going down with an injury.
Corona was immediately tested by a flurry of shots in the box, but made a number of key saves to preserve the clean sheet.
The second half featured a similar back-and-forth, highlighted by an aggressive attack by Ghana, strong Mexican goaltending and a spate of yellow cards as both sides turned up the intensity.
Ghana’s John Boye, Ebenezer Ofori and Mohammed Abu, as well as Mexico’s Rodolfo Pizzaro and Jesus Molina all received cautions in the second half.
Ghana midfielder Frank Acheampong had his team’s best chance at finding an equalizer in the 78th minute when he found himself alone in the penalty area, one-on-one with Corona. His left-foot shot, however, rang off the top-left post.
Mexico finished the match with 10 total fouls to Ghana’s 19, and registered nine saves on nine shots on goal.
Wednesday marked only the third-ever meeting between the two sides, and the one-goal decision moved Mexico to 3-0 in the all-time series.
Ghana will conclude its U.S. Tour on July 1 vs. United States in Connecticut.