Mexico's World Cup qualifying gets tougher after draw with Costa Rica
An ineffective Mexico continued to suffer from its goal drought on Tuesday night, drawing 0-0 with Costa Rica and complicating its way in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
The Mexicans added their third draw in three home games and their fifth draw in total so far hexagonal. They have just three goals in six games.
Since CONCACAF introduced this qualifying format, Mexico has never earned three home draws. Its five draws are only one off the record set by Bora Milutinovic's squad before the 1998 World Cup.
Milutinovic gave Mexico a World Cup ticket but was fired and replaced by Manuel Lapuente.
Although Mexican officials have claimed that Jose Manuel De la Torre remains firmly as coach, increased pressure on a team now second in the hex with eight points could see that position drastically modified.
As if that were not enough, Mexico has played one more game and still needs to wait for the results of next week's CONCACAF qualifiers to know exactly where it stands.
Mexico now takes part in the Confederations Cup in Brazil, which starts Saturday.
Costa Rica scored a valuable draw that keeps it the leader of hexagonal. The Ticos next meet Panama on June 18.
For Mexico the wait will be longer and the next qualifier is not until September, when it hosts Honduras.
From the start, Costa Rica raised the game very well and could have gone in front in the fourth minute when Joel Campbell crashed a shot against the post after Mexico lost a ball in midfield.
The Mexicans, with more thrust than good football, tried to respond but were only able to generate a couple of shots by Aldo De Nigris, none of which bothered Keylor Navas.
Costa Rica closed the first half by dominating possession and had two danger moments. In the 36th minute, Campbell took a dangerous shot that was saved by troubled goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona. Five minutes later, Bryan Ruiz failed to set himself in front of goal and sent his shot over.
The most dangerous attack from Mexico came on 53 minutes when Carlos Salcido cut a man in the box and took a shot that was deflected for a corner.
Although Mexico provided a greater sense of danger late, Costa Rica had another opportunity on 72 minutes, when Corona passed an outlet to Campbell and a shot hit the outside netting.
Five minutes after that, Kenny Cunningham controlled the ball in the area and only a timely sweep by Francisco Javier Rodriguez prevented more hazard for Mexico.
Mexico had a late arrival of danger in the 84th minutes when a Gerardo Flores shot went wide.
Late in the game, a sector of the Azteca stadium began loudly booing the team and asking for the departure of De la Torre.
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