Costa Rica hold Mexico scoreless at Azteca

12 June 2013 03:46

In another uninspiring performance, Mexico played to a goalless draw with Costa Rica Tuesday in the final round of North American regional qualifying for the 2014 Brazil World Cup.

One point from the draw allowed the teams to remain atop the table on eight points pending the outcome of the United States' home match against Panama in Seattle later Tuesday.

In the day's other match, Honduras hosted Jamaica.

Like Mexico and Costa Rica, Jurgen Klinsmann's United States went into Tuesday's matches with seven points, although Costa Rica and the USA have a match in hand.

Panama came in lying fourth on six points. The top three teams in the region advance directly to next year's World Cup finals in Brazil, while the fourth-placed team plays New Zealand for a berth.

Tuesday's draw was another disappointment for Mexico, long a regional powerhouse in North and Central America and the Caribbean. They have just one victory in the six-nation final round of qualifying and five draws -- four of them scoreless.

Costa Rica, who in 2001 became the only team to beat Mexico at Azteca stadium in World Cup qualifying, set the tone early, displaying disciplined defence and creating much the better chances in the first half.

Joel Campbell sped past past Mexico defender Maza Rodriguez and beat goalkeeper Jose Corona only to hit the far post in the fourth minute.

Campbell's attempt in the 37th minute forced a diving save from Corona and Costa Rican captain Bryan Ruiz fired over the bar in the 41st.

Mexico, meanwhile, again struggled to create any real scoring opportunities despite long stretches of possession.

Mexico manager Juan Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre had tried to shake things up, pairing star striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez with Aldo de Nigris and leaving midfielder Giovani dos Santos out of the starting lineup.

Hernandez, who came into the match with 32 goals in 47 appearances for Mexico, seemed frustrated as the changes failed to yield results and received a yellow card in the first half after knocking down Michael Umana.

De La Torre replaced de Nigris in the beginning of the second half with young Club America striker Raul Jiminez but to no avail.

Fans in the less-than-capacity crowd at Azteca were booing the home side by halftime.

Late in the second half they pelted Ruiz with objects as he tried to take a corner kick.

Ruiz took advantage of the situation, letting the minutes tick off as Mexico's players became increasingly agitated.

By the end of the match, fans were calling for the ouster of de la Torre and Mexico were headed this week to the Confederations Cup in Brazil with questions hanging over them.

Source: AFP