Mexico wins, clinches FIFA U-20 World Cup berth
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Alejandro Diaz (pictured) celebrates acrobatically after scoring for Mexico in its 3-1 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship win over El Salvador on January 19, 2015, in Montego Bay, Jamaica. (Photo: Mexsport)

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica.- Mexico (4-0-0, 12 points) qualified a third straight time for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup with a 3-1 win over El Salvador (1-2-1, 5 points) in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship on Monday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

The result gave the Tricolor an insurmountable lead atop the Group B table and the automatic ticket that it provides to New Zealand 2015.

El Salvador did well to stifle to the 12-time CONCACAF champion for most of the game, but the dam finally burst during a six-minute spell in the second half, when the Tricolor netted all of its goals.

Like he’s done throughout the competition, Hirving Lozano ignited the Mexican charge.  In the 62nd minute, he sent a cross from the right that took a bounce in the box.  Jose David Ramirez looped a header towards the net that Salvadoran goalkeeper Carlos Cañas could only tip into the goal.  It was the midfielder’s third tally of the tournament.

Two minutes later, Ramirez turned provider.  His service into the near post resulted in another headed goal as Alejandro Diaz’s diving header beat Canas for his fourth goal in as many games.

Lozano then converted from the penalty spot in the 68th minute after he was hauled down by Edwin Cuellar off a counterattacking run down the right side.  The Pachuca midfielder made it 3-0 by slotting the ball into the bottom-right corner, elevating him to joint-top scorer with USA’s Romain Gall on five goals each.

The Salvadorans were able to get a consolation goal in the 88th minute through Nelson Moreno, who entered as a substitute just three minutes earlier.  Moreno was left unmarked in the box to headed Eduardo Merino’s corner past goalkeeper Jose Gonzalez.

Lozano could have added a fourth for Mexico, but lifted his effort over the crossbar on a rebound attempt in the 90th minute with the goal gaping.

Mexico will look to win in the competition for a 14th straight time on Thursday in a meeting with Haiti, while El Salvador squares off against Cuba that same day.

NOTES:

  • Mexico will be making its 14th appearance in a FIFA U-20 World Cup, when the tournament takes place May 30-June 20, 2015, in New Zealand
  • Hirving Lozano has experienced success in another CONCACAF competition over the last six months, scoring for Pachuca in a 4-1 Champions League win over Real España on August 6, 2014.