They had to come from behind to do so, but Mexico remained unbeaten in World Cup qualifying with a 3-1 win against Trinidad and Tobago. El Tri, already qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, remained in first place in the Hexagonal with the victory, while the Soca Warriors were already mathematically eliminated from contention.
With first place facing off against sixth – and nothing to play for for either side – it seemed like Mexico would keep on rolling with another home victory. However, although El Tri had had the better of possession and the run of play for the majority of the game, they weren’t able to turn those stats into goals, despite the encouragement of the vociferous partisan crowd packed into the Estadio Alfonso Lastras.
After a scoreless first half, it looked like Mexico’s unbeaten streak was going to come to an unexpected halt when Shahdon Winchester gave T&T the 0-1 lead in the 66th minute. Winchester received the ball in the box and sent his chipped shot in off the post to give the visitors a shock lead.
However, Mexico rallied. Juan Carlos Osorio injected new life into the attack with the insertions of Carlos Vela, Hirving Lozano, and Oribe Peralta, and it was “Chucky” Lozano who leveled the game in the 78th minute.
Then, in the 88th minute, the hosts took the lead. Adrian Foncette made the initial save on “Tecatito” Corona, but the rebound fell nicely for Javier Hernández and “Chicharito” headed El Tri ahead, 2-1.
Mexico then put an exclamation point on the win against a disheartened T&T with a stoppage-time goal to make it 3-1 as Héctor Herrera sent his free kick unerringly into the net.
With the 3-1 win, Mexico reaches 21 points while Trinidad still has three.
In the final round of Hexagonal games on Tuesday, Mexico will visit Honduras while T&T hosts the United States.
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Mexico: José de Jesús Corona, Héctor Moreno, Diego Reyes (Oribe Peralta 70′), Miguel Layún, Carlos Salcedo, Héctor Herrera, Andrés Guardado, Giovani dos Santos (Carlos Vela 61′), Javier Hernández, Jesús Manuel Corona, Javier Aquino (Hirving Lozano 56′).
T&T: Adrian Foncette, Curtis Gonzales, Daneil Cyrus, Kevan George, Kevon Villaroel, Kareem Moses, Khaleem Hyland, Leston Paul (Kevin Molino 61′), Levi García (Joevin Jones 73′), Nathan Lewis, Shahdon Winchester (Trevin Caesar 86′).