MIAMI, Florida – In the long history of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying, only twice has Mexico lost on home soil in the famed Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
Costa Rica was first to achieve that feat in June 2001 with a comeback 2-1 win over El Tricolor. More than 12 years later in September 2013, Honduras replicated that same result, scoring two straight second half goals to down Mexico, 2-1.
The men behind the winning goals are no strangers to Concacaf lore and each enjoyed their fair share of success when playing against Mexico on the international stage: Hernan Medford of Costa Rica and Carlo Costly of Honduras.
Medford’s magical moment came in the 87’ with the score locked at 1-1. A long-range shot was blocked by Mexico GK Oswaldo Sanchez, and Medford was first to react before anyone else.
“Sanchez blocks the ball and there was just a small space in which the ball could go in. In that moment I made the right decision and that’s how the goal came,” recalled Medford in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“It was a historic win since nobody had ever won in the Azteca. And I remember celebrating the goal with all of the Costa Rica fans who were right behind the goal, those are moments of which we are reminded of every day,” added Medford.
In a stadium that is usually covered in a sea of Mexico green, Medford’s goal came in front of a pocket of Costa Rica fans dressed all in red. The legendary FW ripped off his shirt and raced to the fence where the Costa Rica fans were seated to kick off a celebration unlike any other.
“It was a great joy because there were so many Costa Ricans in the Azteca, so when I score the goal, the euphoria with all the Ticos, it was like a nationwide party,” said Medford.
Both at the club and national team level, Medford had great success on Mexican soil, scoring decisive goals, but the winning strike that produced Costa Rica’s ‘Aztecazo’ will always hold a cherished place in his heart.
“I was lucky enough in my career as a player to score a lot of goals in Mexico. With the national team I scored plenty of goals and several against Mexico. It is always important to score goals against the biggest team in the area. It’s one of the best moments in my career. It’s a great moment not just for me but for all of Costa Rica and it will live forever,” said Medford.
While Costa Rica had their ‘Aztecazo’ in 2001, the Honduras win in 2013 is known as the ‘Haztecazo’. Three minutes after Jerry Bengtson had brought the Catrachos level 1-1 in the 63’, Costly hauled in a long ball and fired in a shot that left the Azteca in stunned silence.
“It was an unforgettable goal because we had never won there. Honduras had always lost there, but on that night, it was our turn to win,” said Costly in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com
“Jerry and I were able to make the difference with the goals and the rest of the team by defending and those three points will live forever. We always fight for the good of the National Team and we’re so happy that we were able to realize that,” said Costly.
The goal had an even more special meaning for Costly, who spent much of his youth living in Mexico and started his club career in the country.
“I lived in Mexico for a long time and any time the Honduran National Team went there, we always lost. One day I said to my mother, ‘One day we are going to win there. I’ll play in that stadium and we’re going to beat them.’ On that day, we took the field and I remember what I had said to my mother and we were able to accomplish our objective. I then remember afterward saying to my mother, ‘We did it,’” said Costly.
When the final whistle sounded, it set off a wild celebration among the Honduran team that carried from the field into the locker room. Once things started to die down, Costly took advantage of the moment to return to the field in a stadium all but empty and soak in what had just happened.
“After the celebration after the win, I left the locker room and climbed the stairs to get to field level and I shouted, ‘Mexico, we beat you at last!’ I was almost crying and celebrating with the teammates. It’s something unforgettable. I don’t know when it’ll happen again, hopefully it does, but it’s a moment we enjoyed to the fullest,” concluded Costly.