Martinique 2 Mexico 3: Martino's men avoid shock against minnows

Martinique almost stunned Mexico, who edged to a 3-2 victory at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Published : Jun 24, 2019 09:36 IST

Mexico  survived a brief scare to complete a perfect group-stage campaign at the  CONCACAF Gold Cup  by beating Martinique 3-2 on Sunday.

Uriel Antuna's first-half goal had Mexico ahead and in control at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

However, it suddenly found itself staring at a shock draw when Kevin Parsemain scored a wonderful free-kick for Martinique early in the second half.

But Mexico steadied, making it three wins from three in Group A thanks to goals from Raul Jimenez and Fernando Navarro and despite a late header from Jordy Delem for Martinique.

Mexico, which made six changes to the starting XI that overcame Canada, started brightly.

It created its first real chance in the 17th minute, Andres Guardado unable to hit the target at the back post after Jimenez did well to get a cross in from the right side of the area.

But Mexico would open the scoring just before the half-hour mark with Antuna's fourth of the tournament.

Antuna picked up a Guardado pass before running at the Martinique defence, squeezing a left-footed shot through a defender's legs and inside the post.

Jimenez went closest to doubling Mexico's lead in the first half, the striker's spectacular effort from range sensationally tipped onto the crossbar by Martinique goalkeeper Loic Chauvet.

But Martinique incredibly equalised through Parsemain in the 56th minute.

The forward stepped up and curled a wonderful free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards to bring his team level.

However, Mexico responded quickly through Jimenez, who tapped in a Rodolfo Pizarro cross from the left to restore his side's lead.

Guardado almost extended Mexico's advantage in the 65th minute, only for his 25-yard free-kick to hit the crossbar.

Another goal followed through Navarro's first international strike, finishing neatly in a one-on-one after a pass from Jimenez.

Martinique continued to push, however, and pulled a goal back through Delem, who headed in a Daniel Herelle cross, but was unable to find an equaliser.

What does it mean? Mexico's winning run continues

Despite being unexpectedly pushed, Mexico extended its winning streak under Martino to seven matches. It goes into the knockout stage with some confidence and eyeing an eighth Gold Cup crown.

Antuna takes his chance

Antuna was only a late addition to the Mexico squad for the tournament, but he has taken his chance. The LA Galaxy attacker was again lively and added to his hat-trick against Cuba.

Martinique making progress

Martinique showed it can be competitive at Gold Cup level. It was thrashed 9-0 by Mexico in 1993 and beaten 3-1 six years ago, but was threatening and even caused something of a scare.

What's next?

Mexico will face the runner-up of Group B – either Costa Rica or Haiti – in a quarterfinal on Saturday, while Martinique looks ahead to the CONCACAF Nations League later this year.

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