Raul Jimenez went within inches of a last-gasp winner as Mexico had to settle for a 0-0 draw with South Korea.
The Mexican striker hit the outside of a post after being put through by fellow substitute Giovani dos Santos in the Group B opener.
Marco Fabian missed a great second-half chance for Mexico while Jacheol Koo's shot clipped the bar for South Korea.
The later Group B game in Newcastle saw 10-man Switzerland hold on for a 1-1 draw against Gabon.
South Korea had enjoyed the better of the first half against Mexico, with Nam Taehee and Park Jongwoo going close, while Mexico's Hector Herrera tested South Korea keeper Jung Sungryong.
Koo's lay-off then saw Ki Sungyueng force a fine save from Mexico keeper Jose Corona before Wolfsburg midfielder Koo headed Kim Changsoo's cross wide with 10 minutes left.
But Mexico also had chances in the second half, Jung keeping out Javier Aquino's well-struck effort while Tottenham forward Giovani went close before setting up Jimenez's chance in stoppage time.
Switzerland made a dream start in their match as Innocent Emeghara was fouled in the area by defender Henri Ndong in the fifth minute. Dynamo Kiev forward Admir Mehmedi then held his nerve to convert the penalty, which had to be re-taken because of encroachment.
The Swiss continued to break through the Gabon defence but failed to take advantage and Gabon replied with Jerry Obiang hitting the bar.
The African side then drew level on the stroke of half-time, St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang producing a neat finish from an Alexander Ndoumbou cross.
Aubameyang then headed Levy Madinda's corner straight at keeper Diego Benaglio, while Gabon keeper Didier Ovono denied Swiss substitute Pajtim Kasami.
And although Switzerland had Oliver Buff sent off for a second bookable offence with 12 minutes remaining, Gabon were unable to claim a winner.