• Friday May 05, 2017

    Mexico defeats Costa Rica, earns CU17 final berth

    Daniel Lopez (#9) scored two goals in Mexico's win over Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship on May 5, 2017, in the El Chorrillo section Panama City, Panama. (Photo: Straffon Images)

    PANAMA CITY, Panama -- Mexico (2W-0D-0L, 6 points) sealed a spot in the 2017 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship final on the strength of a 6-1 victory over Costa Rica (1-0-1, 3) on Friday at the Estadio Maracana.

    The two-time defending champion concluded Classification Stage play with maximum points from two matches to capture first-place in Group E.  It will face Group D winner United States in Sunday’s decider at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.

    Luis Olivas and Daniel Lopez netted braces for the Mexicans, who also got single goals from Roberto de la Rosa and Raul Sandoval.  Costa Rica’s lone goal came off the left foot of Josue Abarca in the first half, his second of the tournament.

    In a first half that produced five goals, Olivas put Mexico ahead 1-0 in the second minute, when he headed Alexis Gutierrez’s right-sided corner kick into the left side of the net from the edge of the six-yard box.

    Two minutes later, the sides were on level terms as Abaraca raced into the right side of the box to collect a pass from Amferny Arias and elude a trio of defenders, before finishing from eight-yards out.

    It was all Mexico from that point going forward, with an offensive explosion yielding three more goals prior to the break.

    Roberto de la Rosa made it 3-1 in the 20th minute, firing home with his right foot from nine yards off Adrian Vazquez’s low, right-sided cross.

    The lead was extended in the 30th minute by Lopez, who from close range tapped in de la Rosa’s feed played across the goal mouth.

    Olivas converted a penalty kick in the 40th minute to increase the advantage to 4-1, but Mexico wasn’t done.

    Lopez completed his brace in the 51st minute.  The tireless Jairo Torres spurred a sequence that saw him initially receive ball on the right side of the field and continued with him taking a shot in the left side of the box.  His effort was blocked by goalkeeper Ricardo Montenegro, only for Lopez to head the rebound into the back of the net.

    With 10 minutes remaining in normal time, Sandoval punctuated the scoreline.  A left-sided free kick delivered into the box by Marco Ruiz deflected off the head of Costa Rica’s Jose Alfaro towards the far post to Sandoval for a simple nod.

    Both Mexico and Costa Rica entered the match with berths in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup already guaranteed.

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