HOUSTON - Extra-time goals from
Aldo de Nigris and Javier Hernandez gave Mexico a 2-0 win over
Honduras on Wednesday, earning them a place in the CONCACAF Gold
Cup Final against the United States.
In front of a loud and overwhelmingly Mexican crowd of more
than 70,000, 'El Tri' were unable to put away their chances in
the regulation 90 minutes but made amends during extra-time.
"It was tough, Honduras were very well organised, strong and
we couldn't find much space," Mexico head coach Jose Manuel de
la Torre told reporters.
"We should have finished it off in regulation but it didn't
work out that way."
Honduras went close themselves to a late winner inside the
90 minutes but Mexico took control in extra-time, producing the
clinical finishing that makes the difference.
De Nigris produced a superb header to put Mexico ahead in
the third minute of extra-time, rising to meet a corner from
Manchester United forward Hernandez then pounced from close
range after another De Nigris header from a corner was pushed
out by Honduras keeper Noel Valladares.
The goal was the seventh in five games in the tournament for
Hernandez, who is also known as "Chicharito" (little pea) and
has become a national hero in his homeland.
Honduras had Roger Espinoza sent off for a second yellow
card with five minutes of extra-time remaining.
Espinoza had earlier gone the closest to producing an upset
when he unleashed a fierce drive in the 90th minute from 25
metres, which forced Mexico keeper Alfredo Talavera into a fine
Before that, Mexico had their chances with Hernandez missing
a golden opportunity with a header and more glaringly, Giovani
dos Santos dragging a shot wide after being put through clear on
In the end though, it was the extra sharpness from Mexico in
the additional period that made the difference.
"It was like a final, we had to be really focused physically
and mentally. The attentiveness we showed in the 90 minutes just
wasn't there in extra-time," Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez
Saturday's clash at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena will be the
third consecutive Gold Cup final featuring the United States and
While the Americans got their semi-final against Panama
resolved inside normal-time, the Mexicans will have to recover
from an extra 30 minutes.
De la Torre, however, said that the extra exertion should
not count against them in California.
"The team has done well in regeneration... they are tired
but are well prepared. We will just have to see how they recover
from any knocks picked up," he said.
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