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Pablo Edson Barrera
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
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Mexico 2-1 Guatemala: El Tri slips past Guatemala to advance to the Gold Cup semifinals
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez scored his sixth goal of the tournament to give Mexico a win over Guatemala and advance to the semifinals next week in Houston.
By Mike Slane
Mexico had quite a scare against Guatemala, though ultimately came through with a 2-1 victory.
The small Central American nation, which ranks 124th and finished third in the Gold Cup’s Group B, was the toughest competition El Tri have seen so far.
But in the end, Mexico did what they were supposed to do as they overcame an early one-goal deficit to advance to the semi-finals with a narrow triumph on Saturday night in front of a packed house at the Meadowlands.
"They know they should win versus any adversity," Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre said. "We knew it was a difficult match and a difficult opponent. The early goal was because the field was a little complicated and heavy but we knew that we would come back, and we did."
The Mexicans will now travel to Houston to take on Honduras, who defeated Costa Rica earlier in the day in a match that was decided 4-2 on penalty kicks.
Mexico striker Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez scored the game winner with an incredible one-touch goal shortly after Aldo De Nigris knocked in the equaliser in the 48th minute. Chicharito, who had a total of 20 goals for Manchester United last season, increased his Gold Cup goal total to six through four games.
Guatemala stunned unbeaten Mexico with a goal scored by Carlos Ruiz just five minutes into the game. The Philadelphia Union forward finished off a long ball from Elías Enoc Vasquez after Mexican defender Hector Moreno, who has played well during the tournament, completely misplayed the ball.
Mexico controlled possession throughout the game but couldn’t get on the board before half-time. It took a lot of banging around in the box three minutes into the second half before De Nigris was able to get one past goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez, who made a couple nice saves during the sequence.
Chicharito scored 18 minutes later from a crossing feed from Pablo Edson Barrera. The striker’s impressive footwork left Jerez lost as he went to make the save.
"The goal was instinct," Chicharito said. "I saw the ball at my feet and put the ball in the net."
Mexico were once again shorthanded after five of their players were suspended for testing positive for the use of a banned substance. Starting goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and defender Francisco Rodriguez were among the men banned following their opener against El Salvador.
Mexico has outscored opponents 16-2 in the Gold Cup. Guatemala, largely considered the weakest team in the quarter-finals, were sent home with a 1-1-2 record but did their reputation much credit with this showing.
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Jose Andrés Guardado
Pablo Edson Barrera
Giovani dos Santos
Jonathan Emmanuel Orozco
Jorge Emmanuel Torres
A. De Nigris
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