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Mexico victory spares Eriksson
by Paul Kennedy, March 30th, 2009 7AM



[HEXAGONAL] With Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's job on the line, Mexico snapped its four-game winless streak in World Cup qualifying with a 2-0 win over Costa Rica Saturday before 105,000 fans at Azteca Stadium. Trinidad & Tobago, which will face the USA Wednesday in Nashville, was lucky to escape with a 1-1 tie against Honduras in a battle of teams coached by Colombians.

MEXICO-COSTA RICA. The Tri got goals from Omar Bravo and Pavel Pardo to end its four-game winless streak in World Cup qualifying.

The win eased pressure on much-maligned coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. It followed a weekend during which European-based stars Rafael Marquez and Nery Castillo lashed out.

Marquez, who is suspended and remained in Barcelona, blamed Mexico's recent problems in World Cup qualifying and its failure to qualify for the 2008 Olympics and 2009 Under-20 World Cup on deep-rooted problems and said the problems would get worse if changes were made.

Castillo blasted the Mexican press, which has been highly critical of the national team.

"Do you know what your problem is?" Castillo told reporters. "It's that I'm in Europe and you're in Mexico. And you're always going to be in Mexico."

Castillo did not play Saturday against the Ticos but fans chanted his name when he warmed up on the sidelines.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO-HONDURAS. In its Hexagonal opener, T&T blew a 2-0 lead at El Salvador and had to settle for a 2-2 tie after conceding two late goals. This time, a lucky goal saved the Soca Warriors, who earned a 1-1 tie in Port of Spain.

Former Los Angeles Galaxy forward Carlos Pavon, recalled after missing the Catrachos' opener against Costa Rica, put Honduras ahead with a goal early in the second half, and the Catrachos appeared to have the three points when goalie Noel Valladares failed to hold on to sub Khleem Hyland's shot in the 89th minute.

T&T was playing without suspended captain Dwight Yorke, and Coach Francisco Maturana benched Yorke's Sunderland teammate, Kenwyne Jones, in favor of Jason Scotland.

The loss increased the pressure on Honduras coach Reynaldo Rueda, a Colombian, like Maturana, heading into Wednesday's game against Mexico. The Catrachos, who are playing without injured star David Suazo, were one of the favorites against winning its semifinal group ahead of Mexico, Jamaica and Canada, but they find themselves in last place with one point after two games.

March 28 in Mexico City
Mexico 2 Costa Rica 0. Goals: Bravo 20, Pardo pen. 53.
Mexico -- G.Ochoa, Pinto, Galindo, Osorio (Magallon 79), Lopez, Leandro Augusto, Pardo, Arce, Guardado (Torrado 79), Bravo, Vuoso.
Costa Rica -- Gonzalez, Fernandez, Umana, Myrie (Alonso 60), Diaz, Borges, Granados (Saborio 46), Ruiz, Rojas, Furtado, Sunsing (Brenes 51)
Referee: Terry Vaughn (USA).
Att.: 100,500.

March 28 in Port of Spain
Trinidad & Tobago 1 Honduras 1. Goals: Hyland 89; Pavon 50.
Trinidad & Tobago -- Williams. A.Edwards, K.Thomas, Lawrence, Wolfe, Leon, Theobald (Hyland, 60), C.Edwards, Daniel (Latapy, 65), Scotland (Jones, 60), John.
Honduras -- Valladares, Garcia, Figueroa, Caballero, Chavez, H.Thomas, Palacios, de Leon, Guevara, Nunez (Chavez, 76), Pavon (Costly, 80).
Referee: Walter Quesada (Costa Rica).

USA 4 points (4-2)
Mexico 3 points (2-2)
Costa Rica 3 points (2-2)
El Salvador 2 points (4-4)
Trinidad & Tobago 2 points (3-3)
Honduras 1 point (1-3)

April 1
USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Honduras vs. Mexico
Costa Rica vs. El Salvador



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