2022 International Friendly

Mexico draw with Ecuador halted due to anti-gay chants from crowd

Mexico players argue with the referee during a 0-0 friendly draw against Ecuador. Getty Images

Mexico's draw with Ecuador on Sunday night in Chicago was once again halted by the return of an anti-gay chant directed at the opposition goalkeeper during the match.

The friendly match -- part of Mexico's preparation for the World Cup in November -- was tense and scrappy through the final whistle, with both sides initially producing a couple of clear-cut opportunities in the first half.

Winger Jesus "Tecatito" Corona, who was substituted out in the 28th minute after suffering a knee injury, had Mexico's best chance early on with a shot from inside the penalty area that was saved by Ecuador keeper Alexander Domínguez.

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On the other end of the pitch, Ecuador was also close to finding the back of the net in the 39th minute, but El Tri goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa cleverly stopped a strike from Romario Ibarra.

The encounter became more aggressive in the second half with both sides collecting fouls and an eventual total of six yellow cards. Still scoreless in the final stages of the friendly, the match was momentarily paused by the referees after an anti-gay goalkeeper chant boomed from the crowd following a no call on a possible penalty for Mexico.

The match resumed roughly five minutes later, and following seven minutes of injury time it finished where it started at 0-0.

"Today we competed well against a rival that made it very difficult for us. These games help us a lot with what we can face in the World Cup," said Ochoa after the match. "[The recent friendlies are] good for us to react, to correct."

Mexico manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino, who has now seen his team go without a goal in three of their last four outings, didn't seem anxious about his squad's run of form.

"I was worried when we lost to the United States and Canada [in World Cup qualifying] in the middle of November last year," said Martino. "Everything that's happening now, in addition to wanting to play well and win and score a lot of goals, is to find the best set-up and find the variations that we may need in a World Cup."

Next up for Mexico is the start of its 2022-23 CONCACAF Nations League campaign at home against Suriname on June 11 and away against Jamaica on June 14. Later this summer, Mexico will play Paraguay in a friendly on Aug. 31 in Atlanta.

The president of the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) has also said that his country's national team will face El Tri in a friendly this September, with a specific date and U.S. venue to be determined.

El Tri landed in Group C for World Cup 2022 in Qatar, along with Argentina, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

Ecuador, who are in Group A with Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands, will continue their U.S. tour with a June 11 friendly against Cape Verde. The match will be hosted at Drive Pink Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.