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Mexico top Group A with win against Honduras

Mexico struggled in the first half but regrouped in the second to take the win.

Mexico wins against Honduras 1-0
Rafael Hernandez

Mexico struggled in the first half but came back with a great second half performance to beat Honduras 1-0 and clinch first place in Group A.

A tough and physical Honduras had spells of domination, especially after getting a controversial penalty call. Honduras failed to convert but took hold of the game until halftime. Mexico improved after the break and eventually earned the winner a through Ronaldo Cisneros header.

Mexico will now be in Group D with the second placed team from Group B and the first placed team from Group C.

Both teams came into this game already qualified to the next round. Mexico started with mostly the same team, except for three changes: Claudio Zamudio for Eduardo Aguirre, Joaquin Esquivel for Juan de Dios Aguayo, and Jose Hernandez for Fernando Hernandez at goalkeeper.

From the start, Mexico looked brighter but the rough physical play from Honduras really caused El Tri to struggle. A bad foul against Uriel Antuna, that got the Honduras player a yellow card, severely stifled Antuna for most of the game.

Honduras got some chances, and in a controversial play, got a penalty called in their favor. The play was a cross that was handled, but it looked like there was no intent, as the play came from a rebound. Hernandez came up big and stopped Rembrandt Flores kick.

After the play, Mexico play decreased as they looked a little rattled from the unjust call. The second half, though, had a complete turnaround for Mexico, who came out attacking in full force. Kevin Magaña came in for Diego Aguilar and the team looked more dynamic, as Honduras started to falter.

Three times Mexico had clear chances that were went way over into the stands, but Mexico had taken control and finally broke through. After a corner was cleared, the ball was sent back into the area and Ronaldo Cisneros headed in his fifth goal of the tournament.

Honduras had some opportunities to draw level, the best being a shot that had Hernandez pulling a great save. Still, Mexico was the winner and deservedly so.

While Mexico has been the best team of the tournament, the performance today wasn't as good as the ones before. Mexico will need to improve, especially now that the toughest part of the tournament is starting, although one could argue that they faced as good as a team they will face in the next round in Honduras. At the end of the day, it hard to argue with results, especially defensivel where Mexico has yet to allow a goal.

Mexico will now return to Saprissa where they will face the team that ends second in Group B.