Mexico's Carlos Vela (left) in World Cup qualifying action against visiting El Salvador on November 13, 2015, in Mexico City.
MEXICO CITY – Mexico opened its qualifying campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a 3-0 victory over visiting El Salvador on Friday, extending its unbeaten streak to 13 consecutive games in Juan Carlos Osorio’s debut as head coach.
Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera struck for first-half goals in the fourth-round, Group A encounter at the Estadio Azteca, while Carlos Vela added another after the break.
The Salvadorans lost for the first time in the current qualifying cycle after going 3-1-0 in earlier rounds.
Guardado, the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Golden Ball recipient, gave the host a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute. The PSV Eindhoven star’s left-footed free kick appeared to deflect off the Salvadoran wall, before finding the upper-right corner, beyond leaping goalkeeper Henry Hernandez.
With four minutes left in the first half, Herrera targeted Javier Hernandez in the box with a pass from 30-yards out. The Bayer Leverkusen star, who hit the right post earlier, failed to make contact and the ball skipped into the back of the net to make it 2-0 for the seven-time Gold Cup champion.
Vela netted an insurance goal in the 64th minute, chipping over Hernandez from eight-yards out off a neat feed into the right side of the box by Jesus Corona.
The Mexicans will return to action on Tuesday at Honduras, while El Salvador will look to bounce back the same day against visiting Canada.