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Mexico Player Ratings: Ayala, Corona and Duenas step up as attack again sputters

Goal.com logo Goal.com 21-07-2017

It wasn’t an eye-popping performance from Mexico, but Juan Carlos Osorio will probably take it.

El Tri delivered a steady game in their 1-0 Gold Cup quarterfinal win against Honduras. It was a contest that saw Mexico dominate the ball and put together a few moments of silky passing while mostly nullifying Honduras’ attack.

But it was also a performance in which El Tri were unable to capitalize on that control. Mexico scored early thanks to Rodolfo Pizarro but didn't add any insurance goals, which could have saved some nervy moments as Jose Corona was forced into a few huge second-half stops.

Mexico gets by Honduras 1-0

Despite the struggles to create and finish chances, Mexico does deserve credit for an excellent defensive effort — El Tri’s third straight clean sheet. So while the attack sputters, it may well be Mexico’s defense that sees it through to the Gold Cup final as it meets Jamaica in the semifinal match Sunday.

GK Jose Corona, 7: Wasn’t asked to do much in the first half. But came up huge in the second half, making big save off a deflected free kick early on. Then did well to keep out an attempted Olimpico and make sure Mexico advanced to the semifinal.

DF Edson Alvarez, 6.5: Hardly put a foot wrong in the first half, as Honduras could not generate anything going forward. Shifted to central midfield in the second half and continued to work hard and distribute well.

DF Hugo Ayala, 7: Made a huge tackle in the 19th minute to break up one of Honduras’ rare forays forward in the first half. Wasn’t asked to do much in this one, but did everything expected of him.

DF Jair Pereria, 5.5: Was generally steady in the back. But gets dinged major points for a needless free kick conceded in stoppage time. Had Alfredo Mejia’s shot gone the right side of the post and Mexico found itself subjected to penalties, Pereria would have had the goat horns in this one.

DF Jesus Gallardo, 6.5: Like the rest of his back line, Gallardo deserves credit for the smothering defense in the first half which kept Honduras to little in the way of chances. Tried to get forward, but never could deliver a dangerous final ball.

MF Jesus Duenas, 7: He picked up an assist on what was likely a shot, but he won’t care. Other than that, he was active on the ball, and recycled possession well. Made a few nice passes that his teammates were unable to turn into anything more.

MF Jesus Molina, 6.5: Steady performance in the central midfield and part of a unit that expertly denied Honduras any real counterattacks in the first half. Was forced off due to injury in the second half.

MF Oberlin Peralta, 6: Found Duenas in the build-up to the opener. But perhaps should have done better with a few other chances, including one where he appeared to have a chance at an empty net but took too many touches.

MF Rodolfo Pizarro, 6.5: His movement not only started Mexico’s opening goal, but he finished it. However, while very involved in the build-up for his team’s attacks, his touch was not precise tonight. Should share some of the blame for a lack of efficiency in the final third.

MF Elias Hernandez, 6: Continued to distribute the ball well on crosses and free kicks. However, he appeared to leave his finishing boots at home as he missed a great chance early in the second half and whiffed on the chance Pizarro finished for Mexico’s opener.

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FW Angel Sepulveda, 6: Troubled Honduras with his movement in a false-nine role. However, rarely was part of anything threatening — either creating or being at the end of chances.

Substitutes

DF Luis Rodriguez, 5: Came on for Molina and seemed to struggle with Romell Quioto at times down the flank, earning himself a yellow card.

FW Cubo Torres, 4: Entered for Sepulveda and offered no more of a threat toward goal and much less of the movement.

MF Raul Lopez, NR: Came on late in stoppage time.

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