MEXICO 0 USA 0
Undefeated but without a win, Mexico lie 5th in the CONCACAF qualification table after three games and three draws. Although they are only 2 points from surprise leaders, Panama, two of their draws have come at the Azteca where victories are usually a certainty.
Last night saw the big grudge match against the USA. The regions “Big Two” regularly battle out Gold Cup finals and usually vie for top spot in qualification campaigns. For Mexicans, the sweetest of victories come against the “Gringos” so last night’s stalemate would have been particularly difficult to swallow.
In what was to become the USA’s first point since 1997 and 2nd point ever in Mexico, the Americans held out to record a significant draw. The result is even more impressive given Mexico’s record in home World Cup qualifiers as Won 68 Lost 1 and Drawn 6.
Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan was the USA’S best player and the main difference between the teams. It was a cagey affair with “El Tri” dominating possession without crating many clear cut chances.
The visitors rode their luck in 75 minutes when Maurice Edu crudely challenged Javier Aquino in the box, the referee waved play on seemingly unimpressed nor unaffected by the masses protesting.
Mexico have the players to qualify but must be wary of the resurgent Panamanians and Costa Ricans.
Elsewhere in the region Costa Rica beat Jamaica 2-0 courtesy of Michael Umana and Diego Calvo goals, to go 2nd in the table behind Panama. The Central American minnows are not renowned for their football but are impressing all with their fast and athletic performances.
Luis Tejada got Panama off to a perfect start in 2 minutes but it took a Blas Perez in 75 minutes to cement the victory.
Team GP W D L PTs
Panama 3 1 2 0 5
Costa Rica 3 1 1 1 4
United States 3 1 1 1 4
Honduras 3 1 1 1 4
Mexico 3 0 3 0 3
Jamaica 3 0 2 1 2
Only 3 teams directly qualify while 4th place moves into an inter-continental play-off. In reality the group is still very open but the emergence of Panama has raised some eyebrows.
USA 1 0 Costa Rica
The USA picked up their first win of the campaign in snowy Denver on Friday night. Clint Dempsey latched on to a loose ball and then grabbed the eventual match winner on 16 minutes. The Americans held out to secure a hard fought win.
Honduras 2 2 Mexico
Mexico tumbled to a poor away draw after going 2 up through a double by Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. The Mexicans needed only to see the game out, after the Manchester United strikers brace but preceded to self destruct in the last 15 minutes. Carlo Costly and Jerry Bengtson restored parity condeming “El Tri” to second draw in the two opening games. Honduras move to first position in the table.
Jamaica 1 1 Panama
Marvin Elliot headed Jamaica into the lead but it took a Luis Henriquez’s screamer in the 65th minute to claim the away point for Panama.
The big, grudge match comes on Tuesday with Mexico vs USA in the Azteca Stadium.