Mexico 3 Canada 1: Guardado brace preserves Martino's 100 per cent record

By Sacha Pisani 20 June 2019 178
Mexico 3 Canada 1: Guardado brace preserves Martino's 100 per cent record

Mexico continued their flawless run under Gerardo Martino after overcoming Canada 3-1 at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Canada impressed in Denver but Mexico's class was telling as an Andres Guardado brace and Roberto Alvarado strike led Martino's men to back-to-back Group A wins.

Alvarado smashed home the opener in the 40th minute before Guardado – a first-half replacement for injured team-mate Erick Gutierrez – made it 2-0 with a stunning long-range effort nine minutes into the second half on Wednesday.

Lucas Cavallini gave Canada some hope with 15 minutes remaining, however, Guardado's second two minutes later sealed a sixth successive victory for Mexico.

Canada – without a win against Mexico since their extra-time victory at the 2000 Gold Cup – frustrated the seven-time champions for much of the opening period.

Canada – who eased past Martinique 4-0 in their first match – were well organised but they almost came unstuck when Jonathan dos Santos blazed a fierce volley over the crossbar.

Mexico did make the breakthrough five minutes prior to half-time after Canada failed to deal with a cross as Raul Jimenez's reflex shot was well saved but the ball fell to the feet of Alvarado and he emphatically converted the rebound.

Canada almost restored parity minutes later via Cavallini, who outmuscled and outran his opponent and forced a save from Guillermo Ochoa.

Relatively quiet in the first half, Bayern Munich sensation Alphonso Davies went agonisingly close to equalising for Canada after ghosting beyond two defenders and seeing his shot flash just wide of the back post.

However, Mexico went up the other end and doubled their lead in the 54th minute when a loose clearance went straight to Guardado, who hit an unstoppable shot past Milan Borjan.

Canada refused to surrender as Jonathan Osorio went close twice and their effort was rewarded after Cavallini bundled home a goal with 15 minutes remaining. However, their hopes were dashed within minutes as Guardado completed his brace.

 

What does it mean? El Tri flying under Tata

After leading Atlanta United to a memorable MLS title, former Argentina and Barcelona boss Martino is thriving on the international stage. Mexico have beaten Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba and Canada, and they are on track for their first Gold Cup title since 2015.

Mexico lose Gutierrez

Guardado came off the bench and scored twice to lead his nation to another win but it came after an injury to Gutierrez. The PSV midfielder appeared to suffer a hamstring injury and Mexico will be sweating on his fitness heading into the knockout rounds.

Future bright for Canada

Canada left emptyhanded but there was a lot to like about John Herdman's men. They were decent in possession and a threat in attack thanks to Cavallini, Davies and Osorio.

What's next?

Mexico will look to preserve their 100 per cent record when they meet Martinique on Sunday, while Canada can bounce back against Cuba on the same day.

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Sacha Pisani

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