Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez helped Mexico finish top of Copa America Centenario Group C on Monday in a 1-1 draw with Venezuela, although he will have to wait until the quarter-finals to resume his hunt to equal El Tri's all-time scoring record.
Mexico 1–1 Venezuela
Goals: 0-1 Velazquez (11'), 1-1 J.M. Corona (80')
Tournament surprise package Venezuela, who had MSV Duisburg defender Rolf Feltscher in their starting line-up for the third successive game, had nothing to lose going into this match, as even with a draw or a defeat they were guaranteed to finish second in the group. As such the opening period was a frenetic affair with both teams pressing high up the pitch and looking to attack as quickly as possible.
It was nevertheless still a shock – though not against the run of play – when the South Americans took the lead through a superb sideways scissor kick by Jose Velazquez following a free-kick. Mexico seized control of the game after 25 minutes or so but were unable to find a breakthrough before half-time.
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El Tri pushed for an equaliser throughout the second period and went close on a number of occasions, only to be denied excellent goalkeeping from Dani Hernandez. Chicharito was brought on in the 68th minute and could have scored almost instantly, but the Bayer 04 Leverkusen striker skewed his header wide when unmarked at a free-kick. Jesus Manuel Corona ensured Mexico's unbeaten run extended to 22 matches, however, when he sensationally dribbled past five players to rifle in a late leveller and ensure Mexico progress as Group C winners.
Mexico: J. Corona – Aguilar, Reyes, Moreno, Torres Nilo (Layun 46') – Herrera, Molina (Chicharito 68'), Guardado – Lozano, Peralta, Aquino (J.M. Corona 17')
Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio
Venezuela: Hernandez – Gonzalez, Angel, Velazquez, Feltscher – Guerra (Otero 83'), Rincon, Seijas, Penaranda – Del Valle (Martinez 66'), Santos (Rondon 78')
Coach: Rafael Dudamel