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Mexico reach the Semifinals of the 2019 Pan American Games men’s football tournament

Lima 2019 Pan Am Games - Day 6 Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Mauro Lainez fired home a late penalty to secure Mexico a place in the Semifinals of the 2019 Pan American Games men’s football tournament with a 2-0 victory over Ecuador.

Mexico had arrived to this game knowing a draw would be enough to advance to knockout stage after Argentina had beat Panama 3-1 in the earlier game.

Both sides had their pair of chances in a lively first half, with Ulises Cardona coming closest in the early stages of the match when he weaved his way past several Ecuadorian defenders before sending a shot jus wide of Jose Cevallos goal.

Ecuador were eventually punished in the 25th minute when well constructed corner kick finished with Johan Vazquez scoring the go-ahead goal.

Ten minutes after conceding, Ecuador nearly found themselves leveled after a header from Leonardo Campana came dangerously close from beating Jose Hernandez.

In the second half, Mexico remained under threat, and just minutes into the second period, Hernandez had to be called into action following a scramble inside the box.

In a desperate attempt to salvage something, Ecuador started to increasingly send their players forward, leaving them vulnerable on the counter. As a result, Mexico were responsible for squandering several key chances, including one from second half substitute Marcel Ruiz.

With the game nearing its end, Mexico would eventually seal the game thanks to a Mauro Lainez penalty. An Ecuadorian defender inexplicably handled the ball inside the box, and Lainez was there to score and send Mexico through to the next round.

The win lifted El Tri to the top of Group A, above second place Argentina, and barring a surprise result in the Peru game, will now face either Uruguay or Honduras in the Semifinals.