New Zealand forward Marco Rojas defended strike partner Chris Wood after his misses proved costly in the 2-1 Confederations Cup defeat to Mexico.
All Whites captain Wood broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute as Anthony Hudson’s men gained due reward for a superb first-half showing that belied their underdog status.
But the Leeds United man also spurned two one-on-ones either side of his goal, the latter immediately before Raul Jimenez’s 54th-minute leveller for El Tri.
“Look, he scored the one as well – he’s human. We’ve all been there,” said Melbourne Victory’s Rojas, whose inventive attacking play was to the fore before the break.
“The fact we got into those positions says a lot about how we played in the first half. I’m happy we played the football we know that we can play.
“We created a lot of chances, had a bit more space than the last game. When you’re going well like that it’s enjoyable to be on the pitch.
“But it’s a 90-minute game and we have to have a look at what happened during the second half.”
New Zealand battled back against their elimination after Oribe Peralta netted decisively, with Ryan Thomas striking the crossbar.
A feisty contest concluded with a mass on-field brawl and Rojas counted himself as fortunate to have been substituted in the 73rd minute.
“I was probably lucky I was on the sidelines by that point,” said the diminutive attacker, who did get a close-up view of ongoing rowing between the two benches – television replays having earlier shown Mexico boss Juan Carlos Osorio to have launched a foul-mouthed tirade at New Zealand assistant Alex Armstrong.
“It’s just passion. We had to get something out of that game and so did they.
“Sometimes it gets very heated on the bench. Obviously, you don’t condone that as a footballer but it just happens sometimes.”