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Costa Rica Ends Mexico's Streak, 2-1

Soccer: Team's 20-year reign at Azteca Stadium is over after first-ever loss at home in World Cup qualifying.

June 17, 2001|From Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Costa Rica defeated Mexico, 2-1, Saturday to move into second place in regional World Cup qualifying play, ending Mexico's 20-year undefeated streak at its home stadium in international play and handing the team its first home loss in a Cup qualifier.

Mexico forward Manuel Abundis headed in a corner kick from teammate Victor Ruiz past Costa Rica goalkeeper Erick Lonnis in the sixth minute at Azteca Stadium for an early lead.

But Costa Rica's Rolando Fonseca scored on a penalty kick in the 71st minute to tie the score and Hernan Medford rocketed in a close shot in the 86th minute for the game winner.

"We're not in heaven yet, even with this victory," Costa Rica Coach Alexander Guimareas said. "We still have a long way to go and Mexico is not out of the running."

Mexico's loss is the latest in a series of pitfalls the team has suffered since Coach Enrique Meza took over nine months ago. Since then, Mexico is 5-10-3, including five consecutive losses. Mexico lost to England, 4-0, in a friendly and then all three of its games in the recent Confederations Cup against Australia, South Korea and France.

"No, I am not thinking of resigning," Meza said after Saturday's game. "There are still a lot of points to talk about, and we have to keep on fighting."

The victory leaves Costa Rica in second place in the six-team CONCACAF group with seven points. The U.S. leads with 10 and Mexico is fifth with four. The top three qualify.

"The team is worried, but we have to keep on working," said Mexico team captain, Claudio Suarez. Regarding Wednesday's road match against Honduras at San Pedro Sula, Suarez said, "We have to do well, because if we don't, we risk not qualifying."

Mexico last lost an international match at its home stadium in 1981, a 3-1 loss to Spain in a friendly.

Before Saturday, Mexico never had lost a World Cup qualifier at home, where it is now 47-1-4.

In another CONCACAF match Saturday, Honduras won on the road at Port of Spain against Trinidad and Tobago, 4-2, as Carlos Pavon scored a goal and assisted on another.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

2002 World Cup Qualifying

NORTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA, AND CARIBBEAN

After four of 10 games; top three qualify

*--*

Country W L T GF GA Pts United States 3 0 1 5 1 10 Costa Rica 2 1 1 7 4 7 Honduras 1 1 2 8 7 5 Jamaica 1 1 2 2 5 5 Mexico 1 2 1 6 5 4 Trinidad 0 3 1 3 9 1

*--*

*

SATURDAY'S RESULTS

At Mexico City

Costa Rica 2, Mexico 1

At Kingston, Jamaica

U.S. 0, Jamaica 0

At Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

Honduras 4, Trinidad and Tobago 2

WEDNESDAY'S GAMES

All Times Pacific

At Foxboro, Mass.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. U.S., 4:30 p.m.

At San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Mexico vs. Honduras, 4:30 p.m.

At San Jose, Costa Rica

Jamaica vs. Costa Rica, 5 p.m.

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