Mexico booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the Copa America Centenario after overcoming Jamaica 2-0 in Pasadena, California on Thursday.
Javier Hernandez scored his 45th international goal and Oribe Peralta came off the bench to secure back-to-back wins for in-form Mexico, who withstood a spirited Jamaica display to eliminate Group C rivals Uruguay in the process after the 15-time champions lost 1-0 to Venezuela earlier in the day.
In a rematch of the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, Hernandez opened the scoring approaching the 20-minute mark to move within one goal of the nation’s all-time leading record and Peralta sealed the result nine minutes from time in front of 83,263 fans at Rose Bowl.
The win extended Mexico’s winning streak to 11 matches, while Juan Carlos Osorio’s men are unbeaten in 21 games, dating back to last year’s Copa America.
Mexico made four changes – one of those forced due to Andres Guardado’s suspension – to the team that stunned Uruguay 3-1, with Guillermo Ochoa, Yasser Corona, Jesus Duenas and Raul Jimenez coming in for Alfredo Talavera, Diego Reyes and Javier Aquino.
Leicester City’s Premier League-winning captain Wes Morgan returned to the starting line-up after being a substitute in Jamaica’s 1-0 loss to Venezuela, replacing Kemar Lawrence, while Lee Williamson was named in place of suspended midfielder Rodolph Austin.
Jamaica made a promising start in Pasadena and continued to threaten Mexico throughout the opening 45 minutes but they somehow went into the break trailing 1-0.
Clayton Donaldson had Jamaica’s first chance of the game in the seventh minute, running onto Williamson’s throughball, however, the striker lashed his shot just wide of the post after timing his run to perfection.
Mexico then went up the other end and broke the deadlock thanks to Hernandez after 18 minutes.
A whipping delivery from Jesus Corona picked out Hernandez in the centre of the box and the in-form Bayer Leverkusen striker glanced a header into the far corner of the net for his 45th international goal in his 83rd appearance.
As the half wore on, the Jamaicans huffed and puffed but they could not find an equaliser despite two golden opportunities in quick succession approaching the break, with Garath McCleary’s goal-bound shot blocked by Yasser Corona in the 35th minute and Michael Hector’s effort turned away by Ochoa four minutes later.
Mexico made an electrifying start to the second half and they almost doubled their lead within minutes of the restart following an inch-perfect cross from Jesus Corona that found Jimenez, however the ball proved elusive for the striker and Hernandez as it bounced across the six-yard box.
The end-to-end tempo was thrilling as Mexico continued to peg Jamaica back in their own half, though the Caribbean nation did loom large at the other end via Giles Barnes and Donaldson, who was unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty just past the hour-mark after being taken to ground by Yasser Corona.
Mexico came within a whisker of putting the match to bed in the 75th minute but Andre Blake got a hand to the ball to deny Hirving Lozano, though second-half substitute Peralta made sure of the points six minutes later after placing a shot across the keeper.