Mexico defeated Panama 2-1 on Friday night during the penultimate round in the hexagonal phase of World Cup qualifying.
A spectacular overhead kick by Raul Jimenez in the 85th minute gave Mexico the 2-1 lead which led to all three points at the Azteca Stadium.
Mexico will play Costa Rica on Tuesday to decide their possible role in next summer’s World Cup.
Mexico: Ochoa, Layún, Marquez, Ayala, Torres Nilo, Zavala(83′ Jimenez), Peña, Aquino(64′ Gimenez), Dos Santos(76′ Arce), Chicharito, Peralta
Panama: Penedo, Cummings, Torres, Henriquez, Baloy, Gómez, Tejada, Sanchez Mullins, Jimenez, Quintero, Godoy, Henriquez, Pérez, Gabriel Torres
Mexico lined up for the game with a new shirt and an old captain. Rafael Marquez returned as captain of the Mexican national team.
In the 20th minutes Chicharito had an opportunity to open the score of the game, but he wasn’t able to completely control the ball before the referee called offsides for the Mexican team.
Half an hour in Javier Aquino had an opportunity as well. A build up from Peña left the ball for Aquino, but the Villarreal man shot wide of the goal.
In the 40th minutes Mexico took the lead. Chicharito filtered the ball to Oribe Peralta who set it up with the tip of his right boot and sent it to the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Panama claimed a penalty in the 54th minute. Torres Nilo pushed Alberto Quintero from behind, but the referee waived on the play.
But Mexico were awarded a penalty minutes later. Javier Aquino went down in the box after being pushed by Cummings in the 55th minute and the referee pointed to the spot.
Chicharito took the opportunity but sent the shot toward the goalkeeper’s hands.
In the 65th minute substitute ‘Chaco’ Gimenez passed to Peña who missed by send the ball wide of the net.
Gimenez tried his luck in the 69th minute, but his shot went over the goal.
Panama leveled Mexico in the 81st minute. Marco Sanchez sent the ball to Luis Tejeda who was able to bypass Ochoa to score the equalizer.
Minutes later substitute Raul Jimenez scored Mexico’s winner. Fernando Arce sent in a fantastic pass to Jimenez. Raul Jimenez received it and set the ball up on the tip of his boot. Jimenez then managed to produce an incredible overhead kick that sent the ball into the goal for the 2-1 lead.
‘Chaco’ Gimenez had to leave the game briefly in the 87th minute with a bleeding head, the product of a clash with Cummings.
The referee added four minutes to the clock but Mexico managed to hold on to their lead which eventually gave them all three points at the Azteca.
Mexico has its destiny in its hands. El Tri plays Costa Rica on Tuesday with a possibility of facing New Zealand in a play off if the remain in fourth place.