Sun, Oct 13, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Jimenez bicycle-kick rescues Mexico World Cup bid

AFP and Reuters, MEXICO CITY

Mexico’s Raul Jimenez, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring during their World Cup qualifier against Panama in Mexico City on Friday.

Photo: EPA

Mexico won a new chance to qualify for the World Cup after a splendid bicycle-kick by substitute Raul Alonso Jimenez helped his team defeat Panama on Friday.

Jimenez scored his wonder goal five minutes before the end to give the hosts a 2-1 victory at a packed Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

The win gives Mexico command of the fourth spot in the CONCACAF regional group, which would give them a playoff game with Oceania champions New Zealand.

The US and Costa Rica have secured two of the three direct qualifying spots with one round left to play on Tuesday.

Honduras hold the third spot with 14 points, three ahead of Mexico, and need only to draw at Jamaica on Tuesday to clinch the final direct entry from North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Mexico, who face Costa Rica on Tuesday, still have a slim chance of avoiding the New Zealand clash and qualifying outright as the third-place finishers in the six-nation group. However, there is still a slight chance they could be knocked from fourth place by Panama, who host the US in the final set of matches next week.

Mexico opened the scoring against Panama in the 40th minute with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez lobbing a pass to Oribe Peralta who scored from inside the area.

However, Hernandez missed a penalty in the second half. This was followed by a costly mistake by goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, whose failure to secure the ball inside the area allowed Luis Tejada to tap in from close range in the 80th minute.

However, Jimenez came on for Jesus Eduardo Zavala and revived Mexico’s hopes.

Elsewhere, the US secured a 2-0 win over Jamaica to ensure they finished top of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament.

The Americans scored through Graham Zusi and Jozy Altidore, to end Jamaica’s slim hopes of qualifying.

Honduras moved to the brink of securing their place in Brazil after beating Costa Rica 1-0, Jerry Bengtson scoring the only goal of the match in San Pedro Sula.

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