Javier Hernandez scored a first-half header, and Mexico survived a tense second half to advance to the Copa America quarter-finals on Thursday night with a 2-0 victory over Jamaica.
Substitute Oribe Peralta scored in the 81st minute and goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made several big stops in El Tri’s 11th consecutive win, including their first two Copa America games.
Mexico advanced from their group along with Venezuela, who beat Uruguay earlier in the evening. Mexico and Venezuela will meet on Monday in Houston to determine who finishes top.
Mexico striker Javier Hernandez (right) celebrates after heading his country into the lead against Jamaica
Bayer Leverkusen forward Hernandez found himself unmarked as he guided the ball home in the 18th minute
Mexican fans dominated the stands at the Rose Bowl to show support for their side at the centenary tournament in America
Thousands of El Tricolor supporters came decked out in the green, white and red of the Mexican, with traditional sombreros out in force
Pasadena, where the Rose Bowl is situated was Mexican land back in the 18th century, and their fans were out in force to see their side
Passionate supporters had all the gear on to support their team with vuvuzelas, sombreros and head bands all on show
As it became apparent their team were going to progressing out of the group stages full scale parties erupted in the stands
Before that there was plenty of nervousness in the packed Rose Bowl as Mexico hung on to the narrow lead given to them by Hernandez
Some fans took extreme measures to hide their tension as they were made to wait for the second goal from Oribe Peralta
Mexico: Ochoa, Duenas (Molina 72), Araujo, Yasser Corona, Moreno, Herrera, Marquez, Layun, Jimenez, Hernandez (Peralta 78), Jesus Corona (Lozano 63)
Subs: Jose de Jesus Corona, Reyes, Torres Nilo, Aquino, Talavera, Ramirez Montes, Pena, Aguilar
Goals: Hernandez 18, Peralta 81
Jamaica: Blake, Watson, Mariappa, Morgan, Taylor, McCleary, Hector, Williamson (Orgill 77), McAnuff (Binns 63), Barnes, Donaldson
Subs: Kerr, Solomon, Harriott,Marsh, Vanzie, Ottey, Grant, Lawrence, Thompson
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (Brazil)
Chicharito put Mexico ahead in the 18th minute with an exceptional header, outjumping Wes Morgan and setting off a seismic celebration at a Rose Bowl packed with Mexican fans for the rematch of last year’s Gold Cup final.
The 28-year-old Hernandez got his 45th career goal for Mexico, leaving him one shy of tying Jared Borgetti’s national team record.
Mexico struggled at times before Peralta came on for Chicharito and promptly scored a late goal. Ochoa was forced to make several big saves after sitting out the opener, including a diving fingertip save to keep out Michael Hector’s long strike in the 84th minute.
But the Mexicans remained unbeaten in 21 consecutive matches, and they improved to 9-0-0 record under coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
Jamaica were eliminated after failing to score in their second straight Copa America match despite pressing throughout the night.
The Rose Bowl crowd of 83,263 was utterly dominated by green-clad fans cheering the effective home team in this US-based tournament. El Tri attract enormous crowds wherever they play north of the border, but few fans are more passionate than those in Los Angeles’ enormous Mexican-American community.
Despite the raucous fan support – or perhaps because of it – Mexico had a few nervy defensive moments early on, including a missed chance by Clayton Donaldson after a good counter-attack by Jamaica.
Mexico’s Oribe Peralta points to the sky after scoring his side’s second goal at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena
Jamaica and Leicester defender Wes Morgan slides in but fails stop Peralta’s shot from hitting the net
Jamaica’s Je-Vaughn Watson upends Raul Jimenez in the physical group clash at the Rose Bowl
Mexico went ahead when Jesus Manuel Corona tracked down Raul Jimenez’s cross and sent it back in front to Chicharito. The Bayer Leverkusen star outjumped Leicester’s Morgan, who didn’t start Jamaica’s opener because coach Winfried Schaefer said he was too tired from partying to celebrate the Foxes’ Premier League title.
Jamaica pressed forward again, but defender Yasser Corona blocked a shot by Je-Vaughn Watson of the New England Revolution in the 35th minute.
Ochoa made a series of stops in the 39th minute as Jamaica pushed for an equaliser. Mexico couldn’t counter and struggled for possession, managing just one shot in the first half.
Jamaica’s positive play continued after half-time. When Yasser Corona took down Donaldson in the penalty area in the 64th minute, Jamaica’s incensed bench demanded a penalty, but to no avail.
Mexico finally finished things off when Hirving Lozano made a long run and found Hector Herrera, who dropped it off to Peralta.
Leyton Orient and Jamaica man Jobi McAnuff tries to find a route into the game but Sergio Araujo stands tall
Jamaica’s Jermaine Taylor reacts after the 2-0 loss to Mexico that saw his sdie exit the Copa America