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.
It was a much more difficult game than Mexico was anticipating, but in the end El Tri walked away with a 2-0 victory against Curaçao, and with it, first place in Group C.
Mexico made 10 changes to the lineup that drew 0-0 with Jamaica on Thursday, with only Orbelin Pineda making a second consecutive start. Curaçao made five changes from their loss to El Salvador, and it was Curaçao who started the game off better.
After some early shakiness, Mexico rallied for an ultimately comfortable 3-1 win against El Salvador as they opened their 2017 Gold Cup campaign with a victory.
El Salvador had the better of the run of play at the start, but a set piece gave Mexico the early lead. In the 8th minute, Hedgardo Marín scored his first goal for El Tri when he headed home a free kick from Elías Hernández at the back post.
The 1-0 lead lasted just two minutes, however, before Nelson Bonilla leveled the score with his low shot from inside the box.
It was not nearly as easy or as straightforward as Mexico was expecting, but in the end El Tri rallied for a 2-1 victory over New Zealand.
There were surprises both on and off the field, with the All Whites taking a shock lead and Mexico fans in the stands largely refraining from the infamous “eh p*to” chant after FIFA’s latest warning, drawing praise from the national team’s official Twitter account.
APPLAUSE for the fans who DIDN’T shout at the @NZ_Football goalkeeper. True #Incondicionales!
There was no praise, however, for the play on the field. Juan Carlos Osorio made no fewer than eight changes to the starting XI that drew 2-2 with Portugal on Sunday, and Mexico looked rather disjointed in the opening half. New Zealand had several chances to take the lead, beginning with a dangerous header in the 20th minute that Alfredo Talavera snagged right on the line.