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Sunday, 26 May, 2002, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK

Mexico march on

Tokyo Verdy 0-2 Mexico

Mexico continued their World Cup preparation with victory over Tokyo Verdy.

Goals from Braulio Luna and Francsico Palencia gave the Group G team a comfortable work-out as they proved too strong for their J-League opponents.

Coach Javier Aguirre started with a more defensive line-up than usual, using three defenders, two defensive wing backs, and three frontmen led by star striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

"Today was just practice," Aguirre said afterwards.

Mexico opened the game at pace and went ahead in the eighth minute as Luna converted a free-kick from just outside the area that left goalkeeper Daijiro Takakuwa with no chance.

But other than the goal Mexico showed little in the first half and Aguirre made nine changes at half-time, leaving only Palencia and Blanco on the pitch.

Late second

Palencia made it 2-0 in the 89th minute, beating two defenders and then firing a shot past substitute goalkeeper Yoshinari Takagi.

Defenders Rafael Garcia and Alberto Rodrigues sat out the game with injuries and goalkeeper Oscar Perez trained on the sidelines throughout the match.

Mexico opened with Oswaldo Sanchez in goal with Manuel Vidrio, Rafael Marquez and Salvador Carmona in defence.

Gabriel Caballero, German Villa, Gerardo Torrado and Luna were in midfield with Blanco, Palencia and Hernandez up front.

Two of Mexico's group opponents, Ecuador and Croatia, had contrasting fortunes.

Ecuador saw striker Agustin Delgado return after injury - but they could only draw 1-1 with Kyoto Purple Sanga in Kobe after Alex Aguinaga found the net.

Croatia secured an easy 4-0 win over a select side from Toyama Prefecture clubs.


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