Villaluz gives Mexico a win over China in Seattle

April 17, 2008

SEATTLE, Washington, April 17 (Reuters) - Mexico strolled to a 1-0 win over China in a friendly at Qwest Field in Seattle, their first game since Hugo Sanchez was fired as coach at the end of last month.

Midfielder Cesar Villaluz was on target in the 14th minute to give interim coach Jesus Ramirez a winning debut in Wednesday night's game.

The 19-year-old Cruz Azul player scored with a left-foot shot for his second international goal after Sergio Santana laid Jorge Hernandez's cross into his path.

Santana and Sergio Ponce both had shots saved by Song Zhenyu as Mexico, fielding an experimental team of home-based players, pressed for a second goal before halftime.

Santana wasted their best second-half chance when he headed wide from an unmarked position.

Ramirez was previously in charge of the Mexican team which won the world under-17 championship in 2005.

The Mexican federation have not said when they will announce a long-term replacement for Sanchez and Ramirez could still be in charge when they start their World Cup qualifying campaign with a preliminary round tie against Belize in June.

Luiz Felipe Scolari, Jose Mourinho, Carlos Bianchi and Marcello Lippi have been mentioned as possible candidates for the job.

Sanchez, regarded as the finest player Mexico has produced, was fired after only 16 months when the under-23 team, which he also coached, failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games.