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Mexico beat Panama to qualify for 2018 World Cup

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Hirving Lozano struck a second half winner as Mexico held on for a 1-0 win over Panama to seal a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The former Pachuca forward, who joined PSV over the summer, struck the only goal of the game after 53 minutes to make Mexico the fifth team qualified to next summer’s tournament.

El Tri controlled a lot of the game. However, Mexico’s first clear chance didn’t arrive until the 39th minute when Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez placed a low shot just inches wide of the post.

Mexico made a more positive start to the second half and were instantly rewarded as Jesus “Tecatito” Corona started the move that led to Hirving Lozano heading home breakthrough.

Panama upped the tempo, but Juan Carlos Osorio’s men pressed on, earning a free kick at the edge of the box. Hector Herrera stepped up and forced Jose Calderon to a superb save.

Mexico then served warning of their counterattacking threat. A breakaway started by Andres Guardado finished with an Hirving Lozano diagonal that Javier Aquino missed with just the keeper to beat.

Panama had opportunities at the other end, none more clear than the final play of the game. Unmarked and with Guillermo Ochoa rushing off his line, Gabriel Torres had a simple poke in to level the score, but failed to connect properly, as Mexico sealed their place in the World Cup.

As of today, Mexico join hosts Russia, Iran, Japan, and Brazil as the only teams qualified to the World Cup. This is Mexico’s seventh straight trip to the World Cup Finals.