Mexico moved one step closer to defending its CONCACAF Gold Cup title Thursday night with a 1-0 triumph over Honduras at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
The win, which was anchored by an early goal from Rodolfo Pizarro, propelled El Tri into a semifinal showdown with Jamaica, who bested Canada 2-1 in the evening’s first quarterfinal.
Physicality reigned supreme as the two sides racked up a combined 25 fouls and six yellow cards. But Mexico maintained composure despite some aggressive challenges and pressed forward to impose its will throughout the first half.
That much was clear in the fourth minute when Jose Duenas’ mishit sputtered across the box and landed at Pizarro’s feet for an easy tap-in goal to give Mexico an instant 1-0 edge.
The tally was Mexico’s fastest in a Gold Cup game since 1993.
Honduras wasn’t anywhere near as effective in the attacking third and failed to record a shot on goal until the 50th minute on a set piece.
Los Catrachos tried to pick up the pressure as time started to tick away, but Mexico’s stout defense and pinpoint passing allowed El Tri to dictate pace and stave off danger.
In any event, Mexico will be happy with the result since it was able to survive and advance.
Now, it’s onto Sunday’s semifinal against Jamaica, which will represent a rematch of the 2015 Gold Cup Final.
The winner of that battle will meet either the United States or Costa Rica in the title tilt on Wednesday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.