Mexico qualifies for FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Mexico (pictured) celebrates after scoring against Haiti in the CONCACAF Under-17 Women's Championship semifinals on March 11, 2016, in St. George's, Grenada. (Photo: Mexsport)

ST. GEORGE’S, GrenadaMexico sealed a fourth consecutive trip to the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Haiti in the semifinals of the 2016 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship on Friday at the Grenada Athletics Stadium.

Dayana Cazares, Maricarmen Reyes and TSG player of the match Montserrat Hernandez scored once each as the defending champion improved to 2W-1D-2L in five all-time CU17W semifinal games.

The result also put Mexico into Sunday’s final, where it will meet the winner of the second semifinal between the United States and Canada. Haiti still has a chance to qualify for the FIFA event in Jordan, but it would have to prevail in the match for third place.

In what was arguably its best match of the competition, Mexico came out flying from the first whistle and netted twice quickly.

Cazares opened the scoring in the fifth minute. Once again, unselfish forward Daniela Espinosa provided the pass that led to a Mexican goal. From inside the box, Espinosa one-touched a ball to Cazares that Haiti defender Saraphina Joseph inadvertently kicked in her direction. The midfielder took a touch to the enter the right side of the area and then fired a low, right-footed shot that may have taken a slight deflection off defender Nandie Deshommes, before beating diving goalkeeper Kerly Theus at the near post. It was Cazares’ second goal of the tournament and Espinosa’s third assist.

With Haiti trying to recover from the early setback, Mexico stayed on the attack and doubled its advantage in the 13th minute with a ‘goal of the tournament’ candidate. Joseph’s attempted clearance while under pressure off a cross that bounced inside the box landed short. Maricarmen Reyes raced towards the ball, poked it up in the air with her head and then half-volleyed it over Theus with her right foot from 21-yards out.

Mexico put the game out of reach in the 75th minute as Hernandez struck on another brilliant effort. The impressive 16-year-old forward ran onto a long pass played out of the back by Luisa Delgado. After catching up to the ball on the right side, she took a few touches and then chipped magnificently over Theus with her left foot from 30-yards out.

It was Mexico’s second straight shutout, while Haiti’s CU17W winning streak came to an end at three games.