Mexico tops Canada 2-0 in Gold Cup
SEATTLE (AP) — Raul Jimenez scored off of a corner kick late in the first half, and Marco Fabian converted a penalty early in the second as Mexico bounced back from an opening-game loss to beat Canada 2-0 in a CONCACAF Gold Cup group-stage game Thursday night.
Mexico, which lost 2-1 to Panama on Sunday, climbed back into contention in heading into Sunday’s Group A finale against Martinique in Denver. Those teams are tied with 3 points each.
“The team improved on many fronts, and it operated better,” Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre said. ”(Canada) was putting a lot of pressure in many different places of the pitch. But the team managed to get a result and convert opportunities into goals. That creates more confidence and less pressure.”
Panama, a 1-0 winner over Martinique in Thursday’s first game at CenturyLink Field, leads the group with 6 points going into Sunday’s game against Canada, which was eliminated.
“I thought we deserved more than we got,” Canada coach Colin Miller said. “I think it would be safe to say Mexico fought very hard to try to break us down, and they didn’t create a million chances. I thought we played very well in spells. I thought we showed maturity in possession. But we’re still not finishing in the final third, that’s for sure.”
Midway through the 42nd minute, Mexico won a corner kick on the attacking right side. Luis Montes floated it just into the penalty area, and Jorge Enriquez flicked it into the middle, about eight yards in front of the net. Jimenez, with Canada defender Marcel De Jong tight on him, dove and sent it into the back right corner past goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
In the 57th minute, Fabian started to take the ball into the box. But barely a step inside the top of it, he was tripped by Canada’s David Edgar, and referee Joel Aguilar immediately pointed to the spot. Fabian, who scored his team’s only goal in the loss to Panama, drove his shot into the back left corner, with Borjan diving the opposite way.
“We improved on many things, but we were still missing on a few others,” de la Torre said. “We need to create more opportunities and actually finish those opportunities, as well.”
Canada nearly got a goal back late in the 89th minute, but De Jong’s free kick from the top of the arc banged off the crossbar.
Miller didn’t think Canada should have been down two goals at that time, contending that the PK should not have been called.
“My opinion is it’s not a penalty,” Miller said. “I could go into a great deal of details, but I’m biting my lips as much as I can.
“We didn’t defend well from the corner kick four minutes before halftime. The second goal, I won’t comment on anymore. If you take those elements out of the game, we’re absolutely in the mix.”
Mexico has struggled in international play in 2013, just 3-3-8 in 14 games, including 1-0-5 in World Cup qualifying contests. But it has never lost to Canada in Gold Cup play, winning all four games by a combined margin of 15-2.