Runes Mori brace sets up winner-takes-all group finale with El Salvador

Group A: Mexico 3 Guatemala 0

By Jhannet Sanchez at the Cotton Bowl, Dallas

July 15 – A heavy rain was an unexpected surprise for the many fans waiting outside the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The match between Mexico and Guatemala was delayed 30 minutes, but didn’t dampen the fans’ enthusiasm. 

Los Chapines made several attempts from their attacking field pressuring a Tricolor who after a frustrating opening draw against Trinidad seemed to be finding their rhythm.

“It was important for us to attack and to attack fast,” said Mexicos head coach, Ricardo Martino.

In the 28th minute, naturalised forward Rogelio Funes Mori (pictured) controlled the ball on his chest, took a touch inside to beat Kevin Garcia and put his shot far post to beat Nicholas Hagan. It was his first official goal in a tournament for Mexico.

“We are missing many forwards and anything that he (Rogelio Funes Mori) does will be analysed and will be never ending,” said Martino.

Funes Mori was not ready to end things and in the 54th minute he doubled his and Mexico’s tally. It was a group effort as Orbelin Pineda dribbled around a two defenders on the right side of the box and found Funes Mori right in the middle of the goal with enough space to finish it off; sending the ball high into the back of the net.

“We don’t have a vertical player that plays like Lozano (injured against Trinidad) the other similar player to him is Lainez and he is in the Olympics,” said Martino. “We do however have  Pineda and we need to use what we have.”

On 78 minutes it was 3-0. A cross form Luis Rodriguez, marauding from the right back position, was headed in by Orbelin Pineda.

“If we saw a goal scored from the beginning, we would see it handled differently,” said Guatemala coach Rafael Loredo. “But I don’t have anything to claim from the players. We all saw the determination that the boys have. They are playing well, we saw them today and for the next game they have to play like they played today. ”

“I’m proud of the team and what we have done and I’m looking forward to what is to come for us,” said Guatemala forward Darwin Lom.

For Mexico Jonathan Dos Santos made an appearance at the end of the match. “The team did a great game, the fans also had great behavior, a behavior of a 10,” said Jonathan Dos Santos. “It was important to win this match in order to stay alive and the match coming up Sunday is also important in order for us to come top of our group.”

Despite all the good things Guatemala brought to this match it was an emphatic Mexico win. In 2019 Mexico started their Gold Cup campaign at pace and scoring goals for fun. In 2021 their start has been more sedate and certainly fractious, but signs are that they may be playing their way into form just in time.

Mexico face El Salvador on Sunday at the Cotton Bowl in a winner takes all clash for the top of the group. Guatemala face off with Trinidad and Tobago.

Contact the writer of this story, Jhannet Sanchez, at moc.l1709578563labto1709578563ofdlr1709578563owedi1709578563sni@o1709578563fni1709578563


Grp AWDLFAPts
Mexico210407
El Salvador201416
Trinidad and Tobago021132
Guatemala012161
Grp BWDLFAPts
USA300819
Canada201826
Haiti102363
Martinique0033120
Grp CWDLFAPts
Costa Rica300629
Jamaica201426
Suriname102353
Guadeloupe003170
Grp DWDLFAPts
Qatar210837
Honduras201736
Panama111874
Grenada0031110

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