Mexico Beats Inspired Guatemalan Team, Advances to Gold Cup Semifinals
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Ruiz's goal in the fifth minute put Mexico on its heels. But the the tournament favorites turned it on in the second half and scored two goals, by De Nigris and "Chicharito" Hernandez, that led to their victory.
Heavy favorite Mexico beat a tough-as-nails Guatemala, sliding into the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals, 2-1, in front of an announced crowd of 78,807. The “Aztecas” will face Honduras in one of the semifinals at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The other semifinals will feature the winners of the USA vs Jamaica, and El Salvador vs Panama quarterfinals matches.
Carlos Ruiz, Guatemala’s best and most experienced attacker, scored the first goal of the game and got the “Chapines” excited and ready to dream. The Philadelphia Union star scored a beautiful goal, chipping the ball over the Mexican goalkeeper in the fifth minute after receiving a pass from Wilfred Velasquez. Guatemala took the 1-0 lead into the second half.
But the second half belonged to Mexico. The team dominated and Aldo De Nigris tied the match (49th minute) tapping in a loose ball inside the box after Guatemalan goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez blocked a shot but did was not able to hold the ball. Then on the 62nd minute, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored an easy go-ahead goal with a slick back-heel shot when he found himself surprisingly unmarked in front of the Guatemalan goalpost.
Mexico could have scored one or two additional goals but its attackers were not very sharp this day.
Guatemala fought hard, but other than the Ruiz goal, could not muster much of an attack. Defensively the team was superb in the first half but allowed much freedom to Mexico in the second period.
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