Mar­quez header earns Mex­ico’s dra­matic win

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS - OHIO:

Rafael Mar­quez headed in a late win­ner to se­cure Mex­ico’s dra­matic 2-1 vic­tory over the United States in a CONCACAF World Cup qual­i­fier match in Ohio on Fri­day.

With emo­tions run­ning high, ‘El Tri’ de­liv­ered a bru­tal knock­out punch to the Amer­i­cans as Mar­quez di­rected a header into goal off a cor­ner kick in the 89th minute to de­flate the hosts who had dom­i­nated dur­ing a feisty sec­ond half.

The match be­tween ri­vals fea­tured eight yel­low cards and a team-wide push­ing match be­tween both sides in ex­tra time for an ex­plo­sive start to the Hexag­o­nal.

The showdown took on ex­tra mean­ing just days af­ter the US elected Don­ald Trump as Pres­i­dent. Trump has threat­ened to build a wall along the bor­der be­tween the two coun­tries in a pro­posed crack­down on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

“Mex­ico had the bet­ter first half, in the sec­ond half we were out­stand­ing,” US coach Jurgen Klins­mann told re­porters.

“Over­all, it was a very in­tense and ex­cit­ing re­ally qual­ity battle. Now this puts us on our toes go­ing down to Costa Rica (Tues­day) to try to get three points.”

Mex­ico per­se­vered through cold weather and phys­i­cal­ity, how­ever, and joined the trend of road teams win­ning the open­ing round.

Costa Rica de­feated Trinidad and Tobago 20 and Panama beat Hon­duras 1-0 as each road side earned the open­ing three points.

The US also lost vet­eran goal­keeper Tim Howard who was forced out of the game in the 40th minute with what ap­peared to be a leg in­jury.

The 37-year-old went down when tak­ing a goal kick, and was re­placed by Brad Guzan.

Klins­mann said he does not ex­pect Howard to make the trip to Costa Rica for Tues­day’s game and the goal­keeper will un­dergo an MRI yes­ter­day.

“The groin is sore for sure, we’ll find out more to­mor­row,” Howard said. “I’m dis­ap­pointed for the group. We gave as good as we got, and in the end a set piece let us down.”

Miguel Layun opened the scor­ing for Mex­ico in the 20th minute and ‘El Tri’ looked oise to build a big lead as they spread out the Amer­i­cans and ran free in space.

The US sur­vived the as­sault then com­pletely shifted the mo­men­tum in the sec­ond half where Bobby Wood tied the match in the 49th minute af­ter a nice run and pass from team mate Jozy Alti­dore. Mex­ico held on to get the fi­nal say in the clos­ing min­utes. “We were work­ing to get this result. I think we de­served this, and three points puts us in good po­si­tion,” Layun said.— Reuters

COLUM­BUS: Car­los Vela #11 of Mex­ico bat­tles for the ball with Jermaine Jones #13 and Matt Besler #5 of the United States in the sec­ond half dur­ing the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qual­i­fier at MAPFRE Stadium on Fri­day in Colum­bus, Ohio. — AFP

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