Posted on September 8, 2012
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – There’s no stopping Mexico in just about every level of the game these days.
About a month after securing its first Olympic gold medal in soccer, the Mexicans moved within a win of clinching a berth in next year’s hexagonal behind a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica on Friday.
Defender Carlos Salcido scored in the first half and Jesus Zavala added a second-half goal off two Andres Guardado corner kicks.
El Tri (3-0-0, nine points) will host the Ticos (1-1-1, four) in the next encounter in Mexico City on Tuesday. Costa Ria is two points ahead of El Salvador, which was held to a 1-1 tie by Guyana.
The two sides exchanged chances in the opening stages as the stark contrast in formations – Costa Rica in its 5-3-2 alignment and Mexico with a revamped 4-4-2 setup – created space to exploit. Joel Campbell twice had opportunities in the first 25 minutes, but the visitors exerted their influence on the match as the first half progressed.
Mexico could have opened the scoring after 31 minutes when Javier Hernandez shot high from Oribe Peralta’s knockdown, but it eventually went ahead two minutes before halftime.
Guardado supplied service toward the near post, where Francisco Rodriguez stooped to knock the ball back toward the penalty spot. Salcido tracked the flick and tucked his resulting shot just inside the far post.
The left winger provided another delivery to set up the second goal seven minutes after halftime. Zavala decided to direct an effort on goal instead of trying to supply a teammate as Rodriguez did in the first half. The shot found its way past goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
The Central Americans attempted to reply as the second half progressed. Second-half substitute Randall Brenes posed most of the problems by heading wide moments after he entered the match and slotting home from an offside position after 78 minutes. The disallowed effort marked the closest for the Costa Ricans, which remained winless at home in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
Photo: Andres Guardado set up both of Mexico’s goals via corner kicks. ScottBales/YCJ
Categories: Canada, Central America, Mexico, North America, World Cup Qualifying
Tags: Andres Guardado, Carlos Salcdio, Jesus Zavala, Joel Campbell, Keylor Navas, World Cup qualifying