Mexicans in Europe: Hirving Lozano's solid Champions League run comes to an end
With the return of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, a number of Mexico's most prominent players have had the opportunity to gain highly valuable minutes during the recent mid-week matches. In case you missed any of the games, here's a quick rundown on how each of the players fared in the European competitions.
Hirving Lozano -- PSV Eindhoven (UEFA Champions League)
Tottenham have plenty to thank Lozano for. Following the lone goal from the Mexican in PSV's surprising 1-1 away draw with Inter on Tuesday, Tottenham were able to surpass the Italian side and qualify for the knockout round of the Champions League. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for PSV, who finished at the very bottom of their respective group. Nonetheless, "Chucky" can hold his head high as he exits his first-ever trip to the Champions League group stage with two goals and one assist.
Erick Gutierrez -- PSV Eindhoven (UEFA Champions League)
Gutierrez earned his first Champions League start in the game against Inter. It might not have been the most thrilling performance from the midfielder who was only given 65 minutes, but at the very least, Gutierrez contributed with a few noteworthy dribbles and clever passes in one of the biggest games of his young career.
Hector Herrera -- Porto (UEFA Champions League)
After already securing a place in the next stage of the Champions League, Herrera and Porto nearly stumbled during Tuesday's 3-2 win over Galatasaray. The Mexican was impressive with his distribution and midfield coverage, but like many of his teammates, he also looked a little too nonchalant throughout the game. Regardless of the result, Porto will walk into the knockout round with more points than any other club in the group stage.
Jesus Corona -- Porto (UEFA Champions League)
Corona collected one too many yellows and was therefore suspended for the win over Galatasaray. The 25-year-old winger, who appears to be gaining an immense amount of confidence, will be one of the players to watch when the knockout stage kicks off in February.
Diego Reyes -- Fenerbahce (UEFA Europa League)
Reyes put in a solid shift in his first Europa League start since October. During Thursday's 1-0 loss to Spartak Trnava, the central defender collected more accurate passes and interceptions than any other player on the pitch. All that said, he'll need much more than just one good game to steal back a starting role with the Turkish club. Luckily for him, there will be more opportunities in the near future when Fenerbahce begins its round of 32 journey in just a couple of months.
Miguel Layun -- Villarreal (UEFA Europa League)
Layun remained on the bench for the entirety of the recent 2-0 win over Spartak Moscow. With only sporadic minutes and help from the versatile Mexican, Villarreal have now officially clinched a place in the next stage of the Europa League. Similar to Reyes, Layun still has plenty to prove before earning a more significant role for his new team.
Guillermo Ochoa -- Standard Liege (UEFA Europa League)
Sadly for Mexican soccer fans, Ochoa and his Standard Liege roster have failed to qualify for the Europa League knockout round. Standard Liege couldn't accomplish the bare minimum. Needing a win to be in the running for the round of 32, the Belgian squad proved to lack the attacking drive needed in the eventual 0-0 draw with Akhisarspor on Thursday. As for Ochoa, the goalkeeper provided a couple of key saves that at least avoided a potentially dismal loss.
Andres Guardado -- Real Betis (UEFA Europa League)
Back in early December, Real Betis announced that Guardado had suffered an injury and would be out for a few weeks. Without one of their midfield leaders on the pitch --- and with a place already guaranteed into next Europa League stage --- the Spanish side finished their run in Group F with a 0-0 away draw against Dudelange. Once Real Betis dive into the round of 32, Guardado should be healthy and good to go.
Teams with Mexicans abroad that qualified for knockout stage
In: Porto (Champions); Fenerbahce, Villarreal, Real Betis, Eintracht Frankfurt (Europa)
Out: PSV Eindhoven (Champions); Standard Liege (Europa)
Note: Eintracht Frankfurt left Marco Fabian and the injured Carlos Salcedo out of their Europa League team registration. With an invitation set for the round of 32, the German club could potentially include either Mexican international through a subsequent registration which would allow three new players for the next stage.