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Jamaica 1 Mexico 3: CONCACAF giants complete form turnaround

Andres Guardado, Jesus Corona and Oribe Peralta scored as Mexico defeated Jamaica 3-1 in the Gold Cup final to claim their 10th CONCACAF title.

Looking for their third Gold Cup title in the past four tournaments, Mexico took the lead in the 31st minute when a free-kick was directed out to the right flank to Paul Aguilar, who picked out an unmarked Guardado for an impressive side-foot volley inside the back post.

Corona doubled Mexico’s lead in the 47th minute, stealing possession from Michael Hector before driving the ball beyond Ryan Thompson from the edge of the area, while Peralta put the result beyond doubt just after the hour-mark, following another error from the Jamaican centre-back.

Hector failed to control a cross from the right and Peralta pounced, firing the ball into the net from six yards and completing an incredible turnaround from Miguel Herrera’s team throughout the course of the tournament, with Darren Mattocks’ late goal for Jamaica making little difference.

Mexico entered the Gold Cup on an seven-game winless run, including a poor Copa America campaign – although that was with a different squad.

But after breaking their drought with a 6-0 thumping of minnows Cuba in their Gold Cup opener, Mexico found a way to reach the final, although they needed refereeing decisions – later labelled “errors” by CONCACAF – to go their way to overcome Panama 2-1 after extra time in the semi-finals.

Mexico produced their best performance of the tournament when it counted at Lincoln Financial Field, ending Jamaica’s hopes of a maiden continental trophy.

Since the Gold Cup was instigated in 1991, Mexico have won seven titles, while United States have claimed the other five.

Jamaica coach Winfried Schafer made just one change his starting line-up from the 2-1 semi-final victory over United States, surprisingly omitting goal-scorer Mattocks for Simon Dawkins.

Mexican brothers Jonathan and Giovani dos Santos were passed fit to start and sit on the bench, respectively, while coach Herrera made two changes from his XI against Panama.

Jesus Duenas was brought into midfield at the expense of Hector Herrera, while Corona started up front, replacing the suspended Carlos Vela.

Jamaica started brighter as Mexico sat deep but Schafer’s men failed to create any clear-cut opportunities in the opening 15 minutes.

After a slow start, Mexico gradually gained the ascendency.

A desperate sliding block from Kemar Lawrence denied Duenas in the 22nd minute after the latter was teed up by Guardado, while Corona’s header was tipped wide of the post by Thompson moments later.

Both new inclusions were lively in the opening 30 minutes with Duenas also seeing his deflected effort hit the side-netting, while Corona curled a shot over the bar.

Mexico deservedly took the lead after the half-hour mark through their skipper.

After going behind, Jamaica settled again but still struggled to genuinely test opposing goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, although in the 45th minute, Mexico’s Diego Reyes almost poked Adrian Mariappa’s cross into his own net.

Corona’s strike just after the break deflated Jamaica, although they found a way to respond to Peralta’s 61st-minute goal with Mattocks cutting inside from the left flank to score with 12 minutes left.

But Mexico would not be denied yet another continental success.

Mon 27 Jul, 2015
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