2018 International Friendly, International Friendly
  • Ivan Rakitic (62' PEN)

Araujo stretchered off as Croatia beat Mexico with Rakitic penalty

Guillermo Ochoa makes a save during Mexico's friendly against Croatia. AP Images

Croatia rode a lone second-half penalty to a 1-0 win against Mexico in the second of two friendlies for both teams during the current international break.

Mexico, who were coming off a 3-0 win against Iceland on Friday night, started with Javier Hernandez up front with the team's all-time leading scorer earning his 100th cap for his country.

Croatia were the better side in the first half and should have been up at halftime as El Tri seemed to suffer after Nestor Araujo was stretchered off in the 15th minute.

Reports from the sidelines during the broadcast suggested that, as of now, Araujo has a knee sprain and will undergo an MRI to confirm there is no ligament damage.

Real Madrid's Mateo Kovacic had the best chance to break the first-half deadlock, forcing a diving save from Guillermo Ochoa just before the 40-minute mark with a looping volley from the left side of the area.

Mexico went close two times in the opening minutes of the second half, Carlos Vela blazing over the bar from a Hector Moreno long ball and Javier Hernandez forcing a tricky save from Croatia's Lovre Kalinic with an outswinging cross into the area.

However, it was Croatia that opened the scoring with a penalty when Ivan Rakitic tucked away his spot kick after Miguel Layun inexplicably kicked out at Tin Jedvaj while both were standing out of bounds and on the edge of the area.

Nonetheless, it was a clear foul and the referee pointed to the spot and the Barcelona midfielder easily beat Ochoa to put his side up 1-0.

Mexico struggled to find the equalizer in the game's closing minutes, with the referee waving off penalty appeals for hand ball just before full-time from a dangerous Hirving Lozano cross.

Neither team plays again before managers pick their respective squads ahead of the final warmups for this summer's World Cup in Russia.