Mexico began their World Cup 2018 qualification campaign with a routine 3-0 victory over El Salvador at the Estadio Azteca on Friday.
Andres Guardado opened the scoring after seven minutes with a perfectly executed free-kick before Hector Herrera doubled the hosts’ advantage moments before the interval.
The creative midfielder’s lofted pass towards Javier Hernandez was missed by striker and El Salvador goalkeeper Henry Hernandez and ended up nestling in the bottom corner.
Carlos Vela wrapped up all three points on the hour-mark as he collected Jesus Corona’s slipped pass to chip in his 15th international goal.
Mexico took the game to their opponents from the first whistle as captain Guardado opened the scoring with a superb set-piece strike, curling his effort into the top corner.
They almost doubled their advantage within two minutes as Corona’s teasing cross was met by Hernandez at the back post but the on-loan Bayer Leverkusen forward could only strike the foot of the post.
Porto winger Corona then stung the fingertips of El Salvador’s shot-stopper with a fierce strike from inside the area.
Juan Carlos Osorio’s men were enjoying sustained possession throughout the first half, with their opponents relying on counter-attacks due to their predominantly defensive approach.
With half an hour played, Hernandez should have scored his country’s second of the evening as he lost his marker inside the area but headed Luis Fuentes’ accurate cross off target from close range.
However, the Azteca crowd did not have to wait too much longer for a goal as Herrera scored four minutes before the break.
The attacking midfielder paused in possession before lifting his pass towards Hernandez, who had sprung the offside trap but failed to make contact as the ball bounced into the goal mouth and over the line.
Vela – who was featuring in his first World Cup qualifier since 2009 – then wrapped up a comfortable win as he dinked Corona’s weighted pass over the El Salvador goalkeeper.
The visitors failed to create any chances of note throughout the tie, with Ramon Maradiaga’s side struggling to maintain possession due to Mexico’s high pressure.
Substitute Raul Jimenez introduced renewed energy in attack after replacing Hernandez and Corona continued to tease defenders, but Mexico were not forced to press for a fourth as they completed a composed display.
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