Golden Jaguars battle – but go 3-1 at the Azteca
Mexico City, Mexico – A spirited second half performance could not prevent the Golden
Jaguars from going down 3-1, to CONCACAF giants Mexico on the opening day of Group B action, in the third round, 2014 World Cup Qualifiers at the Estadio Azteca Stadium.
Scoring the goals were Carlos Salcido (10th minute), Giovanni Dos Santos (14th minute), JP Rodriguez own goal via a Javier Hernandez flick in (50th minute) and another own goal awarded to Hector Moreno in the 60th minute off a deflected Gregory “Jackie Chan” Richardson shot.
The Jaguars stepped onto the world famous stadium to an electric atmosphere that was highlighted best by how the Mexicans in the crowd sang the national anthem in the stadium in a loud and emotional manner and sight of home town hero Javier Hernandez kneeling and praying before kick-off.
In front of and almost capacity home crowd in which according to the Mexican Football Association reached almost 100,000, proceedings commenced with El Trico putting on a passing exhibition that would have made Barcelona proud.
The ultimate tiki-taka movement was on display as they strung together almost 30 passes in almost five minutes before Guyana touched the ball.
Mexico opened the scoring in when a sharp left-wing cross by Andres Guadardo was not cleared sufficiently and left-back Carlos Salcido arriving in mid-field volleyed in the opener.
Soon it become 2-0 when as some more world-class combination play from the Mexican literally parted the Jaguars defense that national coach Jamaal Shabazz set up very tight – like the red sea.
Firstly right-winger Pablo Barrera flummoxed left-sided players Howard Newton and Walter Moore with some intricate close control, he than pass into mid-field who sent it to Hernandez who played audacious back heel into path of Dos Santos who slammed his shot past the outstretched palm of Guyana keeper Ronson Williams.
Things were certainly not going to plan for the Jaguars and with the deafening crowd screaming and booing every time they touched the ball – a procession was feared. However the Jaguars gradually got better as the half progressed and got their best chance of half chance in the 43rd minute.
Mexico made their first passing mistake of the half, which striker Carl Cort who had a wonder game pounced on. He darted wide and sent a sharp cross into right-winger Ricky Shakes who ran into the box intelligently and headed wide of the mark.
When second half resumed coach Shabazz brought on Gregory Richardson for Howard Newton, with an intent on attack after a first half in which in instructed the team to be disciplined defensively. But it was Mexico who continued to do the attacking when another Guadardo cross from the left was tucked home neatly by Hernandez and the crowd erupted to the approval of their star scoring on the night. This goal was later changed as aforementioned to an own goal.
The final 30 minutes of the game genuinely saw the Jaguars dominate as the Cort/Richardson combination made the Mexican defense work.
A third uncharacteristic mid-field mistake on the night by the Mexicans was finally finished off by the Jaguars. Shakes flew forward from mid-field, passed wide to Richardson who ran left and his hard shot was deflected off Moreno and away from keeper Jesus Corona to make it 3-1.
Shakes who was the other outstanding Guyana player on the night was again into the action as he sent a sharp right-wing cross, which Cort volleyed superbly – but it smashed the top of the cross-bar to the agony of the Guyana technical staff.
Anthony Abrams and Dwight Peters were the other substitutes brought on and they continued the modus operandi of attack in the final minutes, where in summary if Guyana was more clinical a 3-2 or 3-3 draw was a strong possibility.
The Mexico defense without their regular captain and experience defender Rafael Marquez and they seemed lose their defensive shape as the Jaguars attacked them in the latter stages.
Guyana can take much heart from this performance as they now come to host the other CONCACAF giant in the group Costa Rica in their second Group B encounter at the Providence Stadium on June 12th.