Mexico thrash New Zealand 5-1 in World Cup playoff

Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:47pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - Mexico thumped New Zealand 5-1 in the first leg of their qualifying playoff on Wednesday to take a massive step towards a place in next year's World Cup finals.

After scoring just three goals in their last four CONCACAF qualifiers at home, Mexico rediscovered their scoring touch as they outclassed the Oceania champions at the Azteca Stadium.

"The team were sensational, I'm very happy because the lads did a phenomenal job, they gave their all," said Mexico coach Miguel Herrera.

"We needed an aggressive and dynamic team with lots of determination because we needed to win the match."

Defender Paul Aguilar opened the scoring for 'El Tri' in the 32nd minute and Raul Jimenez quickly added a second to give Mexico a 2-0 lead at halftime.

Striker Oribe Peralta scored twice in the second half and Rafael Marquez added the fifth.

Chris James grabbed a late consolation goal for New Zealand who will host the return leg in Wellington on November 20 with the winners advancing to next year's tournament in Brazil.

"The worst we can do is think it's settled," Peralta said.

"We must win there and we still have a lot to improve. We're a small step from getting what were looking for."   Continued...

 
Mexico's Paul Aguilar (C) celebrates his goal with Raul Jimenez (L) and Juan Medina during their 2014 World Cup qualifying playoff first leg soccer match against New Zealand at Azteca stadium in Mexico City November 13, 2013. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido