Javier Hernandez (#14) heads home Mexico's first goal in its Copa America Centenario win over Jamaica on June 9, 2016, in Pasadena, California, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)
PASADENA, California – Mexico (2W-0D-0L, 6 points) clinched a berth in the Copa America Centenario quarterfinals with a 2-0 win over Jamaica (0-0-2, 0) on Thursday in front of 83,263 fans at the Rose Bowl.
The result means that the Tricolor and Venezuela (2-0-0, 6) – a 1-0 winner over Uruguay (0-0-2, 0) earlier in the evening – will be the two sides to advance from Group C.
Javier Hernandez and Oribe Peralta scored for Mexico, while Jamaica has now lost each of its five all-time games in the competition without registering a goal.
The Jamaicans, though, could have a taken a seventh-minute lead, when Clayton Donaldson broke alone into the right side of the Mexican box. With only goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to beat, the Birmingham City forward pulled his right-footed attempt just wide of the left post.
Mexico made the Caribbean champion rue that miss 11 minutes later. Miguel Layun sent a pass to the right wing for Raul Jimenez, whose cross floated to the left side of the box for Jesus Corona. Although a pair of defenders were in close proximity, the 23-year-old was given time to deliver another cross for Hernandez. The Bayer Leverkusen star jumped high to head home from nine-yards out for his 45th career international goal, one short of tying Jared Borgetti’s team record.
Jamaica, which fell 3-1 to Mexico in last year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup final, was by no means out of the game and continued to produce solid chances ahead of the break.
Garath McCleary’s shot from the right side of the penalty area in the 35th minute appeared goal bound, only for defender Yasser Corona to make a block knowingly or unwittingly.
In 39th minute, Michael Hector looked certain to level for the Reggae Boyz, but his right-footed effort from nine yards was miraculously saved by Ochoa.
Three minutes into the second half, Hernandez failed to connect on a header from point-blank range off Jimenez's short right-sided cross that should have made it 2-0.
Just three minutes after entering as a substitute, Oribe Peralta added an 81st-minute insurance goal. Hirving Lozano -- another sub – raced into the left side of the Jamaican box and delivered a pass to Hector Herrera. The Porto star’s touch went slightly long and Peralta was there to place the loose ball inside the right post with his left foot from seven-yards out.
Mexico will battle Venezuela on Monday in Houston for the group crown and Jamaica will take on Uruguay in Santa Clara, California.
BUDWEISER MAN OF THE MATCH: Javier Hernandez (Mexico)