Refereeing was under the spotlight for the second straight game at the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, but at least this time the unlucky side would not be denied a positive result as Mexico ran out impressive winners over didn't-really-show-up Cameroon in a wetter than wet Natal on Friday.
After watching Brazil sneak their way past Croatia thanks to a dodgy penalty decision on the opening day of the World Cup, the other two Group A teams took to the field at the Estadio Das Nunas, but only one side really bothered to show up.
Mexico and Giovani Dos Santos were denied two perfectly good first half goals by the assistant referee's unnecessary flag, before Oribe Peralta, the man who cannot stop scoring for Mexico, found the winner on the hour mark to give the Latin Americans a thoroughly deserving 1-0 victory over Cameroon.
The first half was all Mexico, with Cameroon rarely getting their forward-press going. The Mexicans should have been a couple of goals to the good by halftime really, but the assistant referee on Cameroon's half in the first 45 just decided to lift that flag up whenever any ball looked like going in, thus ensuring no goals would go past Charles Itandje.
There was little doubt about which team had the bigger support in Natal, with the Mexican fans streaming in their thousands to give their team that extra edge. Mexico seemed to thrive on that extra support as well, jumping into a quick start and putting Cameroon on the back foot right from the off and with it rendering the likes of Samuel Eto'o quite useless.
It was all Mexico for the first 10-15 minutes as Hector Herrera enjoyed himself in midfield, pulling the strings, and pinging balls to the wingbacks on either side. Both Miguel Layun, on the right, and Paul Aguilar, on the left, found plenty of space, and had a couple of decent balls been delivered, Mexico would have taken the lead within the first ten minutes.
It only took them about 11 minutes to find the back of the net, though, with Giovanni Dos Santos volleying brilliantly with his left foot off an equally wonderful cross from Herrera. However, the assistant referee, not quite happy possibly with the aesthetics of the goal, decided to raise the dreaded flag up for offside, with replays showing Dos Santos was level, at worst.
Cameroon did find a few forays forward after the opening burst from Mexico, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting actually planting the ball into the back of the net, with the flag, this time correctly, curbing any celebrations again, as Eto'o, who made the pass to his teammate, was caught while coming back from an offside position.
Eto'o, though, could and probably should have given Cameroon the 1-0 lead soon after, with the striker firing his left-footed shot from ten yards, after a brilliant run and cut-back from Benoit Assou-Ekotto, onto the outside of the post.
Mexico thought they finally had found the breakthrough on the half-hour mark, with Dos Santos yet again finding the target with an astute header off a corner. The assistant referee, however, played the spoilsport yet again, raising the flag for offside, when the ball had been knocked-on by the head of a Cameroon player – Choupo-Moting, with replays suggesting even if the touch had been from a Mexican player, Dos Santos was probably level again.
Dos Santos and Mexico were incensed with the second straight poor decision, as Mexico coach Miguel Herrera went bonkers on the touchline. The scoreline remained 0-0, though, leaving Mexico needing to find a goal in the second 45 to come away from rainy Natal with three points.
The goal almost came about a couple of minutes into the second half, when a delightful first-time through ball from Dos Santos, probably wondering it might be better to assist than to score to avoid another offside flag, found Oribe Peralta clear, but the Mexico striker could not find a way past the advancing Itandje who did well to make himself big and block the shot.
The likes of Alexandre Song and Stephane Mbia just could not get any kind of control in midfield for Cameroon, allowing Mexico to dictate terms, with Dos Santos and Herrera looking particularly dangerous in the final third.
A Mexico goal looked inevitable, and the inevitable became reality in the 61st minute. Herrera played a nice one-two with Peralta in midfield, before running to the edge of the Cameroon box and slipping in a perfectly-weighted through ball for Dos Santos, not offside, and more importantly not called offside, to run into. The former Barcelona and Tottenham man's strike was well saved by Itandje, but Peralta was lying in wait for the rebound and the man, who was picked ahead of Javier Hernandez due to his brilliant goalscoring form for Mexico, made no mistake.
Cameroon grew more and more desperate as time wore on, but the equaliser never looked really likely, despite a couple of decent half-chances, with Hernandez coming on in the final 20 minutes and making himself a nuisance as Mexico joined Brazil at the top of Group A on three points.