DENVER (AP) — Marco Fabian and Luis Montes scored goals 13 minutes apart in the first half and Mexico defeated Martinique 3-1 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Sunday.
Miguel Ponce scored for Mexico in the 90th minute to secure the win.
Mexico, the two-time defending tournament champions, moved to the quarterfinals after losing its first game of pool play to Panama.
Mexico (2-1-0, Pool A) beat Canada 2-0 on Thursday and clinched second place behind Panama and secured a berth in the next round with Sunday’s win.
“There’s a lot of things we have to correct, and a lot of times victory covers those errors,” Mexico coach Jose Manuel De La Torre said. “Winning is great, but after the victory we’ll make an analysis of what we did right and wrong.”
Kevin Parsemain scored for Martinique, which lost its final two games of the tournament after opening with a 1-0 win over Canada on Saturday. Martinique finished pool play 1-2-0 and now has to wait to find out if it is one of two third-place teams to advance to the quarterfinals.
“It’s very simple. Our destiny is not in our hands anymore,” Martinique coach Patrick Cavelan said. “We would have preferred to get our qualifications by ourselves but this is the game.”
Mexico carried the play for most of the first half Sunday and had several good scoring chances before breaking through in the 20th minute. Rafael Marquez put a hard shot on net that Martinique goalie Kevin Olimpa deflected to the top of the penalty box. Fabian, trailing the play, chopped the rebound over Olimpa to make it 1-0.
It was Fabian’s third goal of the Gold Cup.
Montes gave Mexico a 2-0 lead when he sent a low shot into the left side of the net in the 33rd minute.
Martinique made it a one-goal game late in the first half when Parsemain, taken down in the box by Alejandro Flores, scored on a penalty kick in the 43rd minute.
Both teams had chances in the second half, but couldn’t capitalize until late when Mexico scored. Miguel Layun carried the ball down the right side and sent a crossing pass to Ponce, who kicked it into the open net to clinch the win for Mexico.
“This was important,” Flores said. “We have to go one step at a time, but I think this was a very important game for us. We still have a lot of things to improve, in the midfield and on defense.”
Mexico’s third goal could impact Martinique’s chances of making it to the quarterfinals because goal differential is a factor.
“In the second half we were able to adjust, but we lost focus and allowed the last goal,” Cavelan said. “That could be bad for our qualification.”
This was the first meeting between the countries since the 1993 Gold Cup. Mexico won that game 9-0 on the way to its first of six Gold Cup crowns.
A seventh title is still possible for the defending champions.
“The objective is to go for the title and that’s the commitment to keep working, to get to the final and to get the Gold Cup,” De La Torre said. “Pressure or no pressure, that’s the way it is, that’s the way we work. It’s part of our job.”
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