Socceroos let 2-0 lead slip as their friendly against Mexico ends in a draw

Australia World

The Socceroos have been left to rue a sour end to their friendly against Mexico, dropping a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 while midfielder Jackson Irvine suffered a nasty late ankle injury.

Harry Souttar headed home in the 16th minute to give Australia the lead in front of a raucous pro-Mexico crowd in Dallas.

Mexico’s Santi Gimenez missed a 54th-minute penalty before Australia’s Martin Boyle, starting his first international since the knee injury that ruled him out of last year’s World Cup, scored his own spot-kick nine minutes later.

Striker Mitch Duke limped off with a hamstring issue in the 67th minute and Australia were brought undone by two big defensive lapses against the world number 12.

Mexico’s Raul Jimenez scored from the spot in the 69th minute, after debutant Cam Burgess gave away a penalty.

Then Cesar Huerta pounced on a catastrophic mix-up between Souttar, who coach Graham Arnold had urged to use Sunday’s friendly as his “stage” to prove a point to club side Leicester City, and Mat Ryan to level the scores in the 84th minute.

The night was further soured when Irvine, who had been superb throughout, rolled his right ankle on the artificial turf and was taken off on a stretcher.

Until the calamitous final half-hour, Souttar and Burgess had mostly looked comfortable in their first start together in the centre of defence, with Kye Rowles shifted to left-back.

The artificial surface was ugly on the eye, and players took time to get to grips with the conditions.

Australia scored after Connor Metcalfe forced a save from Guillermo Ochoa with a long-range effort.

From the subsequent corner, Boyle curled the ball into the near post and Souttar broke away from Johan Vasquez to steer a firm header into the far bottom corner.

Ten minutes into the second half, a Keanu Baccus handball gifted Mexico a penalty but Gimenez clattered his spot-kick onto the post.

Australia earned a spot-kick of their own when Riley McGree burst between Luis Romo and Julian Araujo and was clattered to the floor.

Boyle coolly converted and Australia looked in prime position to claim an impressive win — until they were brought undone by two long balls.

Mexico’s Uriel Antuna was chasing down a long clearance when he was fouled by Burgess after Ryan opted not to come off his line to clear the danger.

With Mexico chasing the game, Souttar ducked under what would normally be a regulation header and Huerta nipped in between the centre-back and Ryan to rifle the ball home.

Debutant Sammy Silvera was introduced for Boyle in the 74th minute.