Two goals on Wednesday from Rogelio Funes Mori helped Mexico get their CONCACAF Gold Cup title defense back on track with a 3-0 victory over Guatemala at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.
Held to a goalless draw in their opener, Mexico bounced back on the same night that Group A rivals El Salvador became the first team into the quarter-finals with a win over Trinidad and Tobago.
Argentina-born striker Funes Mori in the 29th and 55th minutes, and Orbelin Pineda with a 79th-minute header, were plenty for Mexico, who face El Salvador on Sunday in a Group A showdown in the 16-nation championship for teams from North and Central America, and the Caribbean.
It was a vindication for Funes Mori, the 30-year-old whose selection by Mexico manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino had sparked criticism from former coach Tuca Ferretti and former Mexico striker Luis Hernandez because of his Argentine roots.
In a match delayed more than half an hour by a thunderstorm, Funes Mori opened the scoring in spectacular style, falling on a long ball from Hector Herrera and eluding Guatemala defender Kervin Garcia as he turned to bend a shot past goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen for Mexico’s first goal of the tournament.
Funes Mori struck again in the second half with a precise finish off a pass from Pineda — who put the finishing touches on El Tri’s victory when he leaped to head home a cross from Luis Rodriguez.
Earlier in Frisco, Texas, goals from Jairo Henriquez and Walmer Martinez lifted El Salvador to a second straight victory to ensure they will move on from Group A.
Midfielder Henriquez opened the scoring on the half-hour mark with an outstanding solo effort, making a crisp turn and firing a shot from outside the area that skimmed the far post on its way into the net.
Trinidad and Tobago pressed for the equalizer in the second half, but could not find it and Martinez sealed the 2-0 result late in the game when he slotted in a rebound.
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