After being held scoreless for 92 minutes, Aldo De Nigris and Chicharito scored in extra time to lift Mexico to its third straight Gold Cup final.
HOUSTON - Mexico may have had a tough time getting past its two knockout-round opponents, but in the end Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez and Co. are right where everyone expected them to be when the Gold Cup began.
El Tri will face the United States in the much-anticipated final.
After dominating the Gold Cup competition in the group stage, outscoring the opposition by 13 goals through its first three games, Mexico snuck past Guatemala and needed two extra-time goals to defeat Honduras 2-0 in the semifinals Wednesday in front of a sold-out crowd at Reliant Stadium.
“This is what we expected. Honduras was very orderly and very strong and attended to their spaces," Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre said. "They were looking for their counters. Our team was not finding the spaces due to the opponent’s work. We could have finished off some of them at the end of regulation. “
Aldo De Nigris and Chicharito scored off corner kicks for El Tri, which moves on to meet the U.S. Saturday at the Rose Bowl. The two rival nations have won nine of the 10 Gold Cup titles since the tournament began back in 1991.
Aldo De Nigris struck first with a header off a corner kick in the 93rd minute for his second goal in as many games. The 27-year-old, who has come off the bench in four of the last five games, scored the equalizing goal in a 2-1 come-from-behind win against Guatemala in the semis.
The Monterrey striker then added an assist six minutes later, again winning a header from a corner kick with Chicharito providing an easy tap-in at the far post.
It was the 23-year-old Chicharito's tournament-leading seventh goal, the second-most ever in a single Gold Cup. Mexico's Luis Roberto Alves scored 11 - including a seven-goal outing against Martinique - in 1993.
Honduras proved to be Mexico’s toughest task throughout the tournament, frustrating the competition favorite throughout the night with solid defense and goalkeeping. Both teams had their scoring chances, especially as they approached the 90-minute mark.
In the 88th minute, Giovani dos Santos had a clear path to the net, but watched his shot sail past the far post. Moments later, Honduras' Roger Espinoza hit a long-range ball on target that was knocked away nicely by Mexico goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera.
"You have to get your work done to get the result," de la Torre said. "Nothing is easy."
It was a rough game throughout, but frustration eventually caught up to Honduras after watching Mexico put two in during extra time. Espinoza was tossed after picking up his second yellow card at the 115th minute for a late challenge on Efraín Juárez.
There were 22 fouls apiece and a total of nine yellow cards.
Allen Ramsey contributed reporting to this article.
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