Mexicans in Europe: Jesus Corona scores again, Guillermo Ochoa helps Standard Liege shock Sevilla
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.
Jesus Corona -- Porto (UEFA Champions League)
During Wednesday's 3-1 victory over Schalke, "Tecatito" made history as the first Mexican to score in three consecutive Champions League matches. After finding the back of the net in his two previous European games, the winger maintained his exciting momentum with an impressive strike in the 55th minute of the win. With a superb start to to his season --- and a place in the knockout round reserved for Porto -- we'll likely be hearing more about the talented 25-year-old in the latter stages of the tournament.
Hector Herrera -- Porto (UEFA Champions League)
No Porto player has covered more ground in the Champions League group stage than Herrera. Although the team captain didn't finish with a goal or assist in the victory earlier this week, Herrera stepped up with ample coverage as a box-to-box midfielder. Similar to teammate Corona, the Mexico international will be given a golden opportunity to compete on a bigger stage when Porto enters the knockout round in 2019.
Hirving Lozano -- PSV Eindhoven (UEFA Champions League)
As seen in previous Champions League clashes, Lozano was left as the highest-pressing player in a PSV squad that was focused on counter-attacks in the 2-1 loss to Barcelona. The winger helped create a few dangerous opportunities but also struggled with chances of his own in the final third. As for PSV, luck just wasn't on the side of the home team that hit the woodwork three times in the loss. With another defeat in hand, the Eredivisie club has now solidified a place at the bottom of Group B.
Erick Gutierrez -- PSV Eindhoven (UEFA Champions League)
Gutierrez entered the pitch during the 71st minute of Wednesday's defeat. With PSV throwing plenty of numbers forward late into the game, the midfielder looked impressive with his accurate passes and ball recoveries. If the upcoming and final group stage match is now meaningless for the team that can't leave the very bottom of the table, is there now a good chance of Gutierrez earning his first Champions League start next month?
Guillermo Ochoa -- Standard Liege (UEFA Europa League)
Standard Liege and Ochoa are still in the running for the Europa League knockout stage. After gaining a surprising 1-0 win against Sevilla on Thursday, the Belgian club is now level on points with the Spanish side that is sitting in second place of Group J. Depending on the results of the final group stage matchday, Standard Liege can still sneak into the top two. As for Ochoa, the goalkeeper had little trouble from the Sevilla squad that couldn't find a single shot on target.
Andres Guardado -- Real Betis (UEFA Europa League)
After being given the start last Sunday against Villarreal, Guardado was left on the bench during Thursday's 1-0 Europa League victory over Olympiakos. With the veteran watching from the sidelines, the Verdiblancos not only clinched three more points, but also a well-earned position in the next round of the tournament. As for Guardado, the midfielder is expected to return to the pitch this Sunday in the upcoming La Liga clash versus Real Sociedad.
Diego Reyes -- Fenerbahce (UEFA Europa League)
The good news? Fenerbahce has secured a place in the Europa League knockout round. Thanks to a recent point seized in the 0-0 draw with Dinamo Zagreb, fans of the Turkish side can now rest easy knowing that a spot in the next stage is guaranteed. The bad news? Reyes was once again left on the bench without minutes. In all competitions, the central defender has now gone through four games in a row without playing time.
Miguel Layun -- Villarreal (UEFA Europa League)
Without Layun in the gameday roster, Villarreal moved one step closer to the Europa League knockout round after walking away from Ibrox Stadium with a 0-0 draw against Rangers. Unfortunately, like Reyes, the Mexican has been left out of recent matches. The 30-year-old hasn't made an appearance for Villarreal in their last three games.
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 player through a subsequent registration which would allow three new players for the next stage.