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Mexico 0-0 Costa Rica: El Tri continues to struggle offensively

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Guardado rues early Confederations Cup exit
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Guardado rues early Confederations Cup exit

It was the type of performance that left the home fans throwing objects at opposing players and chanting for the team's head coach to be fired.

Mexico once again played to a draw and failed to score in an important World Cup qualifying match as Costa Rica held El Tri to a 0-0 draw at Azteca Stadium on Tuesday night.

Mexico, the highest ranked nation in the CONCACAF region, has played to nine draws in 10 games in 2013. The team has gone scoreless in three of its five Hexagonal matches.

With their side's offense continuing its offensive struggle, the game took an ugly turn as the home fans tossed objects at Costa Rica captain Carlos Ruiz late in the second half. They ended the match by calling for the firing of coach José Manuel de la Torre.

Mexico had entered the match in a three-way tie with Costa Rica and the United States atop the Hexagonal standings with one game in hand.

De La Torre, who is surely on thin ice, paired star striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez with Aldo De Nigris. He decided to leave midfielder Gio dos Santos out of the starting lineup in a desperate attempt to shake up his team.

But it was Costa Rica which would set the tone early.

The Ticos, who arrived at the stadium later than expected due to Mexico City traffic, slowly built momentum throughout the first half and did enough to hold off Mexico in the second half.

In the fourth minute, Joel Cambell had the first golden opportunity of the match when he raced past Mexico defender Maza Rodriguez and beat goalkeeper Jose Corona only to hit the far post.

Later in the half, Corona was forced to make a diving save off a Cambell attempt from inside box in the 37th minute followed by Ruiz firing a long shot right over the crossbar in the 41st.

Chicharito, who entered the match with 32 goals in 47 appearances for Mexico, looked frustrated as El Tri's attack continued to struggle during the calendar year. He received a yellow card in the first half for unnecessarily knocking down Michael Umana during a dead ball.

In an attempt to give Chicharito some help up front De La Torre replaced De Nigris in the beginning of the second half in favor of young Club America striker Raul Juminez, but not much would change in the final 45.

Costa Rica had the best opportunity to break the deadlock off a long free kick that left Corona out of position and the ball sail just wide of the post.

De la Torre didn't play Dos Santos until the 78th minute.

Mexico pushed for a final goal and nearly got it when defender Gerardo Flores redirected a free kick to the far post but Chicharito was unable to get a piece of the ball as it sailed out of bounds.

Costa Rica wasted as much time as possible as seven minutes were added after 90 minutes. The excessive injury time was due to fans tossing objects at Ruiz, one of which hit the forward in the head.

It was not the ending Mexico would have liked, especially in its final game before the Confederations Cup begins Sunday against Italy. El Tri is looking to win the competition for only the second time.

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