Mexico gets narrow 3-2 victory over Martinique in CONCACAF Gold Cup play
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The CONCACAF Gold Cup rolled into Charlotte on Sunday with a domainant showing from fans of El Tri lining the streets of the city adjacent to Bank of America stadium all the way to the front gates.
The action continued on Sunday night starting with a lopsided Canada vs. Cuba match that saw Canada dominate Cuba 7-1. The Cuban's appeared to be over matched in every aspect of the game and failed to turn any late-game momentum they may have garnered into points on the board.
The win landed Canada the second spot in Group A in the chase for the Gold Cup.
Later, as the Mexican team entered the field for the second and undoubtedly most anticipated game of the night, more than 56,000 fans welcomed El Tri for their match against Martinique. The stands were a sea of red, white and green with only a negligible representation for Martinique.
Mexico scored first on a Uriel Antuna (Mexico) shot from the center assisted by Andrés Guardado.
A resilient Martinique team defended well against Mexico the entire first half of play and continued that energy into the second. Martinique's persistence on defense held Mexico in check long enough for forward Kevin Parsemain to hit a free kick into the top corner of the net around 56 minutes into the match to tie the game at 1-1.
But at 66% Mexico won the possession battle of the game which ended up being the Achilles heel for Martinique. Despite another goal late in the game - a header by Jordy Delem (Martinique), it wasn't enough to overtake Mexico who also saw goals from striker Raúl Jiménez and Fernando Navarro.
The win was the seventh-straight under new Head Coach Gerardo Martino. After the game, Martino said he was not happy with the distractions that caused such a close score despite the team's dominance on offense.
Martinique Head Coach Mario Bocaly was much more satisfied with his team's performance despite the loss.
"It was possibly a culmination of the work we've been doing the last eighteen months," Bocaly said. "I saw a lot of discipline players sticking together, really, really playing as a team."
The narrow win allowed Mexico to claim the top spot in Group A of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Mexico needs three more wins, beginning with their upcoming quarterfinals match, to capture their eighth Gold Cup which will be played July 7 in Chicago.