ROSTOV-ON-DON: Mexico maintained a 100pc start to their World Cup finals campaign in Russia by defeating South Korea 2-1 in Group F in Rostov-on-Don.

Korea contributed the finest goal of the clash, delivered with an angled 30-metre drive from Tottenham’s Heung-min Son, but it came in the third minute of second-half stoppage time and was thus no more than a consolation effort.

By that point Mexico were in secure command courtesy of a first-half penalty from Carlos Vela and a second-half counter-attacking strike from Javier Chicharito Hernandez, the official man of the match.

El Tri, having upset holders Germany in their opening game, took the lead after 26 minutes when Vela converted the 14th penalty of the tournament – one more than in the entirety of the finals in 2014 – after handball by Jang Hyun-Soo.

Six of these penalties have been awarded after video reviews but referee Milorad Mazic was perfefctly placed to make an immediate award this time before Vela sent keeper Cho Hyun-Woo the wrong way for the 11th successful conversion.

The record number of penalties in a World Cup stands at 18, from 2002, and South Korea demanded a 15th in vain when Moon Seon-Min’s shot clipped Carlos Salcedo’s arm and chest.

Mexico dominated first-half possession and ended Korean attempts at a second-half recovery with their second goal after 66 minutes. Hirving Lozano broke at speed on the counter-attack and selflessly set up Hernandez to score his 50th international goal.

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