Just hours after learning that five of its players would be suspended throughout the remainder of the Gold Cup for doping, Mexico recorded second straight 5-0 win.
The good news is Mexico still has Chicharito.
On the same day five of its players were suspended for testing positive for the use of a banned substance, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez had two goals and one assist to guide El Tri to a 5-0 victory over Cuba in the Gold Cup Group A matchup in Charlotte, N.C.
Chicharito, who became a soccer superstar while helping Manchester United win the Premier League championship this year, now has five goals through two games of the tournament. El Tri, which defeated El Salvador 5-0 in its opener on Sunday, leads its group with six points.
After missing some early scoring opportunities, hitting the side of the net just three minutes in and sailing one over the crossbar moments later, Chicharito put Mexico on the board in the 36th minute. José Andrés Guardado sailed a pass from the corner to Chicharito, who knocked the ball into the net with an emphatic header.
Mexico entered the half with a one-goal lead but started the second half on fire. Similar to its opener against El Salvador, El Tri scored three goals in a five-minute span.
Gio Dos Santos started the second-half assault with a strike in the 63rd minute followed by an Aldo De Nigris goal off a Chicharito assist two minutes later. Dos Santos also scored in the 68th minute.
Chicharito’s second goal was Mexico’s last of the game and came on a volley off a feed from Elías Hernán Hernández in the 76th minute to close things out for Mexico, which could be without five players for the remainder of the tournament.
Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and defender Francisco Rodriguez were among the five players who tested positive for a banned substance called clenbuterol. Also suspended was defender Edgar Duenas and midfielders Christian Bermudez and Sinha as the investigation begins.
Ricardo Osorio has also been suspended, but the defender had already been ruled out of the tournament with urinary tract infection and is currently receiving treatment in his homeland.
Decio de Maria, the secretary general of the Mexican soccer federation, made the announcement prior to the game and said he believes the positive results come from the players eating contaminated beef.
But until the investigation is completed, none of the players will be allowed to play. Mexico can play the remainder of the competition with just 17 players for the duration of the tournament if needed.
Mexico will be back in action against Costa Rica in Chicago.