Mexico Earn Copa America Spot After Dramatic CNL Victory Against Honduras

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Mexico qualified for the 2024 Copa America after defeating Honduras 2-0 (2-2 overall) to force their Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal series into a penalty shootout, where “El Tri” prevailed 4-2.

Tuesday’s match took place at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, and the hosts came into the match on the strength of their previous 2-0 loss on the road in the first leg of the quarterfinals.

Midfielder Érick Sánchez’s header against the crossbar in the second minute set up Mexico to keep applying pressure to an increasingly overworked Honduran defense.

As the game progressed, the visitors gained attacking momentum and tested Mexico goalkeeper Angel Malagon, who had to make two vital saves. This occurred close to the halfway point of the first half.

Then, in the forty-third minute, midfielder Luis Chávez gave the hosts the lead again. Mexico took the lead 1-0 when Chavez, standing over a free-kick about 30 yards from the goal, hit a deft shot that caught opposing goalkeeper Edrick Menjivar off guard.

Following the interval, Anthony Lozano of Honduras headed the ball short and Malagon had to make another crucial save in the 61st minute.

Acknowledging the necessity to rejuvenate a fatigued team, “Jimmy” Lozano of Mexico initiated three distinct window changes in the second half to progressively introduce replacements such as Cesar Huerta, Julián Quiñones, Santiago Giménez, and Luis Romo.

El Tri midfielder Edson Álvarez then equalized the aggregate score in the 101st minute by stepping up his attacking pressure once more. This sent the quarterfinal series into extra time. Even though Orbelín Pineda and Julián Araujo, two more substitutes, kept up the pressure on Mexico into extra time, the match went to penalties because no goals were scored in the extra periods.

Mexico won 4-2 in the shootout and qualified for the Copa America thanks to goals from Johan Vásquez, Gimenez, Pineda, and Huerta—who was given three chances to take his penalty after Menjivar twice went off his line.

Mexico’s friendly match against Colombia on December 16 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will mark the end of the year. They will then proceed through the semifinal round of the Nations League in March of 2024. Honduras will play in a crucial play-in game to qualify for Copa America that same month.