Mexico conclude March Nations League campaign with 2-2 against Jamaica
The Mexican national team held Jamaica to a 2-2 draw on Sunday at the Estadio Azteca to top the CONCACAF Nations League Group A and narrowly qualify for the final four.
El Tri managed to balance out an early rocket from Jamaica’s Bobby Decordova-Reid and the own goal by Edson Alvarez with Orbelin Pineda’s first half effort and a penalty by Chucky Lozano. But despite earning the point and spot in the next phase, the tumultuous draw felt like a disappointing way to usher in the ‘Diego Cocca’ era at the hallowed Azteca.
“We wanted a victory here at home, but the game was complicated for us with two errors. Today unfortunately ended in a draw and we want to win. This tastes like defeat for us,” said midfielder Luis Chavez after the game.
“With the dissatisfied result, the goal was to win. The ways and what the team showed in personality and in the game shows me that this is the way. They felt identified, they liked the idea. We generated between 14 and 18 scoring chances, we overflowed from the right, from the left, we finished off inside the small area, two balls hit the crossbar…” added new head coach Diego Cocca.
“We tried everywhere and the team maintained the intensity, the second half we surpassed them, especially in a number of situations. That gives me peace of mind, if you will, knowing that we are on the right track.”
The March international window saw Cocca lead the Mexican national team in a competitive match for the first time. He managed a victory over Suriname and a draw against Jamaica while rotating players from the roster of 34 called up.
Julian Araujo and Diego Lainez stood as the only two figures to feature in both games, in a bid to learn, analyze and experiment with his new squad.
“I spoke with them, my message here is that I am happy with the unity of the group, with what was done on the field, with the number of goal situations that we create. We must continue to improve, of course, but I am with them, I am with the players and they are the ones who are going to show the people that there is a commitment, that there is ambition, desire, a hunger for professionalism.”
But the fans are no longer convinced. Following Jamaica’s goal in the seventh minute, fans began booing Jorge Sanchez and Guillermo Ochoa for their mistakes, culminating in negative chants.
“People have the right to say what they want, we are strong, convinced and trying to work, to follow this path. God willing, with the results and with the form of the game that we are going to acquire later with time and work, we hope that the people can support it,” said Cocca of the situation.
Mexico returns to action on April 19 when facing the United States in a friendly.