won the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday with a 4-2 victory over the
United States in a hugely entertaining final played in front of 93,000
The pulsating game was a
fitting finale to a tournament boasting plenty of goals and attacking
games in front of bumper attendances and Mexico, with their exciting
young team, were deserved champions for a record sixth time.
had to fight back from 2-0 down after 23 minutes but with Giovani dos
Santos at his sparkling best, Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez
a constant threat and Pablo Barrera causing havoc on the right wing,
they ran out convincing winners.
"They're as dynamic as any [Mexico] team I've played against," U.S. forward Landon Donovan told reporters.
have a few guys who can change the game in a heartbeat. They have some
special players and they're explosive and if you give them space they're
going to make plays," he added.
A huge Mexican contingent in the crowd at the Rose Bowl brought a festive atmosphere to the aging venue for the 1994 World Cup final but the pre-game 'Futbol Fiesta' came to a halt soon after kick-off.
U.S. took the lead in the eighth minute when midfielder Michael
Bradley, son of coach Bob, nodded in a Freddy Adu corner with a sublime
angled glancing header.
were forced into an early change, though, when full-back Steve Cherundolo
sustained an ankle injury and was replaced by Jonathan Bornstein, a
move that had a big impact on the game with the substitute struggling
down the left.
The switch didn't
initially disrupt the attacking flow of Bradley's team who kept surging
forward to exploit opponents who appeared rattled by the early assault.
approach paid off handsomely in the 24th minute when Clint Dempsey fed
Landon Donovan, the United States' all-time top scorer celebrating his
return to the starting line-up with the coolest of left-foot finishes.
Mexicans soon woke up from their evening siesta and within five minutes
Pablo Barrera had raced past Bornstein onto a long ball from Javier
Hernandez and driven it past a stationary Tim Howard to reduce the
Suddenly bubbling with
confidence, Mexico struck the equalizer in the 36th minute when Dos
Santos cut in from the right-flank and hit a low shot into the area
which hit defender Clarence Goodson. Andres Guardado pounced on the
deflection to squeeze a shot under the body of keeper Howard.
U.S. left the field looking shell-shocked at the break while Mexico's
confident body language told the story of a determined comeback.
hosts needed to get a quick grip on the game in midfield if they were
to stem Mexico's attacking flow but their southern neighbors were in no
mood to ease off.
Guardado fed Barrera inside the area and his low shot beat Howard and went in just inside the far post to make it 3-2.
The U.S. came close to leveling when Clint Dempsey hit the bar with a fine strike from the edge of the area.
the game was settled in style by Dos Santos, who was forced to dribble
away from goal after failing to round Howard but produced an
inch-perfect chip that evaded defender Eric Lichaj on the line and
floated into the top corner.
sealer sparked chants of 'Ole, Ole' from the stands and marked the start
of a loud and long party sure to last well into the southern California
"We are the best team in the cup and that's all that matters at the moment," said a beaming Hernandez.
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