Jesus Corona (upper left) gets hoisted into the air by teammate Javier Hernandez after scoring in a World Cup qualifier against host Honduras on November 17, 2015, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Mexico scored twice in the second half to earn a 2-0 victory over host Honduras in a fourth-round qualifier for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.
Jesus Corona and Jurgen Damm – a pair of substitutes -- got on the scoresheet as the win extended the Tricolor’s unbeaten streak in all competitions to 14 consecutive games and ended its 50-year winless streak in San Pedro Sula.
With the result, Mexico (2W-0D-0L, 6 points) provisionally took sole possession of first place in Group A with Canada (1W-0D-0L, 3 points) set to visit El Salvador (0W-0D-1L, 0 points) later in the evening.
Following a scoreless first half, the visitor burst to life thanks in large part to personnel decisions by head coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
Javier Aquino made way for Corona in the 61st minute, while Damm came on for Javier Hernandez ten minutes later.
Corona gave the Mexicans a 1-0 lead in the 67th with a brilliant strike. A Honduran clearance from a pass played deep into its area was collected by Corona, who flicked it to himself with his left foot 17 yards from the net. Before the ball hit the ground, the talented 22-year-old powered a right-footed volley past goalkeeper Noel Valladares and inside the left post.
Not to be outdone, Damm made it 2-0 just a minute after entering the field. The 23-year-old Tigres midfielder outmuscled a defender on the right for possession and raced into the box, before lifting his head to get a look at an unmarked Corona racing towards the net. Valladares moved away from his line in anticipation of a pass, but with trickery Damm sliced a right-footed shot home from an unexpected angle just outside the six-yard box.
Honduras’ Luis Garrido left the game in the 38th minute with what appeared to be a serious leg injury after an awkward collision with Aquino.
Mexico will resume qualifying play on March 25, when it visits Canada. The Hondurans (0W-0D-2L, 0 points) will look to get back on track at El Salvador the same day.