Heading into the March World Cup qualifiers for the CONCACAF region, Costa Rica was up on top with six points after two matches. Not far behind, Mexico was at four points after two matches. On Friday, March 24, Mexico would host Costa Rica for the battle of first place in the region.
In only the 7th minute of play, Carlos Vela gave Chicharito a perfect through ball. Chicharito connected a well timed chip past Costa Rican keeper Keylor Navas, putting Mexico up, 1-0, early on in the match. The goal, also, is Chicharito’s 46th national team goal, tying him with previous leader Jared Borgetti on the all-time list. Chicharito humbly brushed off the significance saying the win was more important but that his achievement is a huge confidence booster.
“It is very nice, but this is just starting, that’s how I see it,” said Hernandez. “It helps my confidence to be level as the maximum scorer. It is something I never dreamed about or imagined, but the most important things is the result for the group.”
From that point on, Mexico was dominant in possession, although Costa Rica did have a few counters of their own. Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa was forced to make a few saves, but nothing ultimately too threatening.
Late in the first half, Carlos Vela found Néstor Araujo on a corner kick, as he headed it home, giving Mexico a healthy 2-0 lead into halftime.
The second half was more of Mexico maintaining their lead, seeing out that crucial three points in the match. In fact, Costa Rica looked more impressive in the first half than the second.
Mexico did get some good looks at a third goal, but it was just not meant to be, which is fine for El Tri and their fans. The 2-0 final was a massive confidence booster for the home team, especially since the last WCQ they played in Azteca was lackluster against Los Ticos.
A huge victory for Mexico as they played without many of its prominent stars like Hirving Lozano, Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona, Andres Guardado and Giovani dos Santos. Vela with his two assists and Jonathan dos Santos controlling the midfield played exceptionally for El Tri helping them secure the three points and the temporary lead in the Hexagonal table.
Next up is Trinidad & Tobago for Mexico on the road. Although Trinidad & Tobago has not been a scary opponent in the Hexagonal, they did upset Panama, 1-0, on Friday afternoon. However, a win and secured three points could be the monkey off the Mexican national team’s back, so to speak, as they will be in more than a comfortable spot for the rest of qualifiers.
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