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Match recap: México 3, Costa Rica 1

The México women’s senior national team gets a historic 3-1 win over Costa Rica.

Previews - FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018 Photo by Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

The Mónica Vergara era has started off with a bang.

In their first game in almost a year, a new look México downed Costa Rica 3-1 at Estadio Azteca. In their first appearance in the historic temple of world fútbol, México shook off some early nerves to get a convincing win against a Concacaf rival that is on about the same level of quality.

It wouldn’t take long for Costa Rica to settle into a groove. in the fifth minute, Melissa Herrera hit a cross to Priscila Chinchilla on the left, but her shot went just wide of the net. Mexico got their first shot on goal in the eighth minute when Nicole Pérez got to a rebound and hit it from distance, but Noelia Bermúdez saw it the entire way and stopped it easily. In the 15th, Stephany Mayor made a dangerous run deep into the box but her cross was intercepted and cleared out by Lixy Rodríguez.

Costa Rica did well to spread the ball around, looking for weaknesses in México’s defenses. México didn’t give them much to find however, and was able to make some good counterattacks. Unfortunately for the home side, the final ball didn’t seem to come right away.

In the 21st minute, a corner kick from Pérez found the head of Rebeca Bernal, who made an unmarked late run into the box. Bernal’s header beat Bermúdez to give México the lead.

After the hydration break, Nicole Pérez hit a pass to María Sánchez in the box, but her shot went just wide of the far post. México would get their second in the 35th when a failed clearance by Costa Rica made its way to Katty “Killer” Martínez. True to her nickname, Killer took one touch to settle and fired a rocket past Bermúdez to double the lead.

México didn’t take their foot off of the gas. In the 41st they almost got a third when a corner kick made its way into the mixer and had to be cleared out with a chilena by a defender. It only went as far as the Mexican midfield, however Rebeca Bernal’s shot went well over the bar. In the 43rd, Katty Martínez smashed a shot off of the crossbar from just outside of the box, the sound echoing across the empty expanse of the Estadio Azteca. Costa Rica was back on their heels, and somewhat luck to get out of the first half down two.

México came out attacking immediately. Before the first minute had elapsed they already had a shot on goal that Bermúdez had to save for her defenders to scramble away when Stephany Mayor hit a pass to Katty Martínez, who flicked it on to Rebeca Bernal before Bermúdez stopped it. In the 52nd, Stephany Mayor made a good run up the middle, playing a ball out to the left to María Sánchez. Mayor pointed ahead and Sánchez obliged, chipping the ball in for Mayor to head in for México’s third of the game.

México didn’t let up until past the 60th minute, and even then they still looked dangerous. In the 64th Stephany Mayor made a run down the right. Her cross overshot Alicia “Licha” Cervantes, but the cross fell to Kiana Palacios. Her cross also just missed Licha, who made a valiant effort to backheel the ball out of midair. México had a shout for a handball on the play when replays showed that it looked like Fabiola Villalobos hit the ball with her arm in the box, but it was not awarded.

In the 78th Costa Rica almost pulled one back when Cristal Sandi hit a rocket of a shot that Ceci Santiago tipped, clattering off of the crossbar and out of danger. The next minute, Licha Cervantes missed the net at the other end with a shot by inches. In the 81st, Costa Rica finally got on the board when Villalobos got her head to a free kick, redirecting it past Ceci Santiago.

A minute later Ceci would be tested again, but this time she was able to read the shot the entire way and made the stop.

The teams will meet again on Tuesday, February 23 at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento (CAR) in Ciudad de México.

México: Cecilia Santiago; Jimena López (Andrea Sánchez, 60’), Jocelyn Orejel, Bianca Sierra, Kenti Robles; María Sánchez (Alison González, 75’) , Nicole Pérez (Kiana Palacios, 60’), Rebeca Bernal, Dani Espinosa (Montserrat Hernández, 75’); Katty Martínez (Alicia Cervantes, 60’), Stephany Mayor (Liliana Mercado, 80’)

Costa Rica: Noelia Bermúdez; Daniela Cruz, Mariana Benavides, Lixy Rodríguez, Stephanie Blanco (Fabiola Villalobos, 61’); Gloriana Villalobos (Cristin Granados, 77’), Shirley Cruz, Katherine Alvarado (Raquel Rodríguez, 56’), Melissa Herrera (Sofía Varela, 77’); Priscila Chinchilla (Cristel Sandi, 77’), María Paula Salas (Carolina Venegas, 77’)

Scoring: México - Rebeca Bernal (21’), Katty Martínez (36’), Stephany Mayor (53’); Costa Rica - Fabiola Villalobos (82’)

Disciplinary: México - Stephany Mayor (Yellow - 30’); Costa Rica - Melissa Herrera (Yellow - 31’)