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El Salvador earned first victory over Mexico to win second international crown
El Salvador won three of four matches at the 1954 Central American & Caribbean (CAC) Games to capture its first-ever gold medal in the football competition.The Cuscatlecos finished on top of a five-team final round group, held at the Estadio Olímpico Universitario in Mexico City, narrowly overcoming the host by a single point.
It was a second international title for the Cuscatlecos after finishing first at the 1943 CCCF (Confederación Centroamericana y del Caribe de Fútbol) Championship.
Under the direction Carbilio Tomasino, El Salvador's journey to CAC Games' gold began with a 2-2 draw against Colombia on March 9, followed by a 3-1 triumph against Cuba three days later.
This would set up a key encounter on March 13 against Mexico, which just qualified to its second consecutive FIFA World Cup (Switzerland 1954), and was already a two-time gold medal winner at the CAC Games (El Salvador 1935, Panama 1938).
A crowd of 50,000 saw El Salvador strike first, when forward Mario Montoya gave it a 16th minute lead.
After Tricolores' striker Antonio Jasso equalized 12 minutes later, Montoya (36th) and forward Ricardo Valencia (37th) scored back-to-back goals for the visitors to take a 3-1 advantage into halftime.
Defender Rafael Gutierrez cut the lead with a tally in the 64th minute, however, El Salvador held on for its first ever victory over Mexico.
"For us this game (vs. Mexico) was waiting for a classic encounter to take place," team captain Conrado Miranda told El Gráfico of El Salvador."It was a huge crowd at the Universitario stadium, so the atmosphere was perfect.
"To play against Mexico was a big incentive for us.The mental aspect was important.They pressured us throughout the match, but we had the feeling we were going to come out with the victory. I believe patience was very vital as we were also able to put away our scoring chances."
Despite not being registered as an official FIFA International "A" Match, it was still the first-ever loss at home for Mexico.
"It was incredible," Valencia told El Gráfico."I remember that after the final whistle we found out there were many Salvadoran fans in the stands because they entered the field to celebrate with us.
"It was fantastic moment."
Two days later, and trailing by a single point after Mexico concluded its tournament participation with a 4-0 over Panama, forward Juan Francisco Barraza's scored the game-winner for El Salvador in a 1-0 triumph over the Canaleros to clinch first-place.
Valencia believes the key to El Salvador's tournament victory was head coach Carbilio Tomasino: "I believe that Caribilio did a great job.Before the match against Mexico, several of our team directors wanted to enter the locker room and he told them no.He also said 'Guys, I do not have anything else to tell you; only that we are on our own, but with God.'Carbilio gave us faith and discipline with this group as he was a great leader."
The Cuscatlecos' Barraza, Miranda and Valencia have also continued to achieve additional accolades both as players and coaches:
Juan Francisco Barraza: Player - Five El Salvador's League titles with CD Águila (1959, 1960-61, 1963-64, 1964, 1967-68), Two with CD Dragón (1950-51, 1952-53); Coach - two league crowns with CD Águila (1972, 1983) and another championship with CD F.A.S. (1981).
Conrado Miranda: Player - Three Salvadoran titles with CD Atlético Marte (1955, 1955-56, 1956-57), two with CD Águila (1959, 1960-61); Coach - two league crowns with CD Águila (1975-76, 1976-77); one CONCACAF Champions' Cup (1976) and one CONCACAF Youth Tournament Crown (1964).
Ricardo Valencia: Player - Three league titles with newly formed CD F.A.S. (1951-52, 1953-54, 1957-58).
El Salvador Roster - 1954 CAC Games
GOALKEEPERS: Yohalmo Aurora, Manuel "Tamalones" Garay
DEFENDERS: Fernando Barrios, Armando Larin, Hugo Moreno
MIDFIELDERS: Ramon "Pezote" Chavez, Jose Hernandez, Conrado Miranda, Luis Regalado
FORWARDS: Juan Francisco "Cariota" Barraza, Obdulio "Calulo" Hernandez, Mario "Marilet" Montoya, Alfredo "Baiza" Ruano, Ricardo "Chilenito" Valencia
TD: Carbilio TOMASINO
Tournament Results - Mexico City, Mexico (Estadio Olímpico Universitario)
09.03: El Salvador - Colombia 2:2; Mexico - Cuba 4:0
12.03: Cuba - El Salvador 1:3; Mexico - Colombia 1:0
13.03: Colombia - Panama 2:1; Mexico - El Salvador 2:3
15.03: Cuba - Colombia 1:2; Mexico - Panama 4:0
16.03: Panama - Cuba 4:0
17.03: El Salvador - Panama 1:0
Rodrigo Arias, Sub-Editor in Chief of El Gráfico Sportsnewspaper (El Salvador) contributed to the content of this story
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