Mexico 1-0 Costa Rica: Chicharito fires El Tri into the Hex

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Club America reaches out to Francisco Rodriguez
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Club America reaches out to Francisco Rodriguez

Coming into the second of two World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica, Mexico had won all nine competitive games under Jose Manuel 'Chepo' de la Torre.

Now, make that 10.

El Tri claimed a 1-0 win over Los Ticos in Azteca Stadium to qualify for the Hexagonal in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. Mexico leads Group B with 12 points, meaning neither El Salvador (five points) or Costa Rica (four points) can surpass El Tri with two games remaining.

Costa Rica coughed up a 2-0 loss in San Jose on Friday, and entered Mexico City determined to make more of a game of it. Mexico, featuring the same lineup as five days prior, struggled to break down the stubborn Ticos, with Costa Rica captain and goalkeeper Keylor Navas pulling off several strong saves.

The post bailed him out at the end of the first half on an Andres Guardado corner -- the weapon that led to both goals last week. This time defender Hector Moreno latched onto the set piece delivery, and rattled the bar.

But Navas was left flapping on the hour mark when Jorge Torres Nilo motored down the left flank and lofted a perfectly-weighted cross into the box. It scratched the fingertips of Navas' glove before falling invitingly to Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez at the far post. The Manchester United striker coolly nodded home for his 26th international goal in 41 games.

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