Mexico ends winless skid with 2-0 victory over Costa Rica in World Cup qualifyin
MEXICO CITY – Mexico ended its four-game winless streak in World Cup qualifying, getting goals from Omar Bravo and Pavel Pardo to beat Costa Rica 2-0 on Saturday.
The victory before a crowd of about 100,000 at Estadio Azteca was only Mexico’s third in its last nine games, the other two coming in friendlies. The win over Costa Rica was the first in qualifying since a 2-1 triumph over Canada on September 10.
The result also ended Costa Rica’s eight-game winning streak in qualifying and was its first loss in nine games since qualifying began. It left both with three points after two of 10 matches in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.
Mexico, playing without regular captain Rafael Marquez due to suspension, earned a corner kick 10 seconds after the opening kickoff, but Costa Rica had the better of play early. Despite forcing three corners in the first 14 minutes, Costa Rica had the best early chance in the third minute when Michael Umana was able to get unarked to a free kick at the back post but shot into the side netting.
Mexico slowly began to assert control and took the lead on a quick striker out of the midfield in the 20th minute. Leandro Augusto, a naturalized Argentine that plays for Pumas UNAM, drove a low ball to Bravo, who exchanged passes with Matias Vuoso and was able to break in on Costa Rican keeper Ricardo Gonzalez.
Bravo’s first shot from the top of the penalty area was blocked by Gonzalez, but the rebound fell into the path of the Tigres striker, who easily scored over the sprawled keeper from eight meters.
Costa Rica started the second half looking more dangerous, but the Ticos hopes faded when Pardo drew a penalty and converted in the 52nd minute. Vuoso sent him a short ball down the left side of the area, and Roy Myrie ran over Pardo from behind, sparking U.S. referee Terry Vaughn to point to the spot.
Mexico will look to build on its momentum on Wednesday when it travels to San Pedro Sula to face Honduras, while Costa Rica will try to recover at home in San Jose against El Salvador.