A late burst for five goals in the final 15 minutes maintained Mexico's perfect record in qualifying and eased El Tri to a 5-0 win over Guyana.
Coach Jose Manuel 'Chepo' de la Torre elected an experienced lineup with Gerardo Torrado and Zinha manning the central midfield, and Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez paired with Oribe Peralta up top. Andres Guardado and Javier Aquino manned the wings while Francisco Rodriguez and Hector Moreno took up their usual central defense spots, flanked by Israel Jimenez and Jorge Torres Nilo.
Mexico came out flying in front of the friendly crowd, and in just the fourth minute earned an early spot kick when Guyanese goalkeeper Derrick Carter tripped up Hernandez as he chased a filtered ball into the box.
Chicharito confidently lined up for the spot kick and his effort at a chip up the middle fooled Carter but slammed off the cross bar, keeping the South Americans safe for the moment.
Just eight minutes later, El Tri had another golden chance to take the lead through Aquino, who streaked down the left side and latched onto a Jonathan Orozco goal kick, then beat his defender and Carter with a clever chip, but the ball found only the right post.
Jorge Torres Nilo then got into the act, pushing into the attack and blazing a shot just wide of the pole.
El Tri had its share of half chances before Guyana would get its best opportunity of the half. Gregory Richardson danced around Jimenez and Torrado and unleashed a shot from close range to which Orozco applied an agile kick save. On the ensuing corner, Guyana had its next best chance as the ball fell to Charles Pollard at the penalty spot, but the midfielder blasted over the goal.
In the 41st minute Jimenez once again tested the posts of the BBVA Compass Stadium goal, rattling the crossbar with a well struck shot from just outside the top right corner of the box.
That summed up El Tri’s first-half luck, as the teams somehow went to the locker rooms scoreless, when Mexico could easily have had a three or four goal advantage.
The second half opened as a similarly back-and-forth affair, but with less clear chances for El Tri, which continued to dominate possession. It wasn’t until 25 minutes in that Hernandez once again spurned a golden chance when Guardado put the ball at his disposition inside the six yard box, but the Manchester United striker misfired.
Two minutes later Guardado again played a good cross, this time on the ground across the goal mouth, but neither Hernandez nor Peralta could get a foot on it to direct it in.
With just 12 minutes left, the Valencia winger decided it was time to take matters into his own hands. Off a corner, after Jorge Enriquez, who had come on for Torrado, whiffed on a shot, Guardado slammed home a shot left-footed from just outside the box.
That seemed to break Guyana’s will, as just a minute later Hernandez was played through and beat Carter with a pass to Peralta, who finished easily for a two-goal cushion.
Two minutes later the floodgates opened completely as Hernandez got the ball in the box, and on his turn Guyanese defender Chris Nurse tried to clear but ended up putting the ball into his own net. Two minutes on from the third, Hernandez finally put one in himself when he headed home from close range.
One minute later, Mexico had its fifth as Angel Reyna, who had come on for Zinha just seven minutes earlier, slammed home a shot from the top of the box, completing what had turned into a rout, and mercifully eliminating Guyana from contention while keeping Mexico perfect in the semifinal round.
El Tri returns home to face El Salvador in Torreon on Tuesday.
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