Mexico players celebrate their winning goal against the United States. Jay LaPrete
Grudge match

Captain fantastic Marquez delighted as Mexico trump USA

The skipper said the victory could help the Mexican people forget the “intolerance” of the US Presidential election.

MEXICO CAPTAIN RAFA Marquez said his winning goal in Friday’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory over the United States could help the Mexican people forget the “intolerance” of the US Presidential election.

The 37-year-old glanced in a superb header from a corner in the 89th minute to leave the hosts stunned as their winning streak against El Tri in Columbus came to an end.

Asked whether the win was particularly sweet after the tensions caused by US President-elect Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about Mexican illegal immigrants, Marquez said: ”Maybe now they have a bad time, a time of intolerance and with this win maybe they can forget now a little bit what happened here in the US.

“It was a long time that we haven’t had a good game (here). We are very happy and this is very important for us,” he added, referencing the run of four straight 2-0 defeats in Columbus in World Cup qualifiers going back to 2001.

Former Barcelona defender Marquez played in the first of those losses and had talked before the game about the Mexicans having a great chance to end the jinx in Ohio

“It was the best opportunity to change the story here and tonight was what we had hoped for in the last couple of days,” he said.

Marquez made his debut for the national team in February 1997 and has captained his country in the last four World Cups. His coach Juan Carlos Osorio said the players’ service had been rewarded with the sweet moment of his goal.

“Rafael has a love for the game like no-one else. He always trains as hard as he can, considering his age, he wants to play in all the games,” said the Colombian coach.

“Today, I think football, the game itself, rewarded him and I am very pleased for him, very, very happy for him,” he said.

- Nail-biter -

The pulsating encounter at Mapfre stadium saw Mexico take the lead through Miguel Layun’s 20th minute strike. The US fought back to draw level through striker Bobby Wood four minutes into the second half before Marquez’s winner.

“It confirmed what we all thought before the game – it will be a nail-biter, it will be a very intense, hard-fought game and that is how it turned out,” said US coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Classy Football / YouTube

The US are away to Costa Rica on Tuesday in their second of ten games in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying and Klinsmann said he was keen for his team not to fall behind in the race for a top three spot.

“The message is very simple – we have to go down there and get a result, which we will do. It is a long road over ten games. It is not a problem, but obviously it is disappointing without a doubt.

“It gives a sense of anger in us, a sense of urgency. We don’t want to be behind. All these qualifying games are difficult but if we play the way we played in the second half, I am not worried.”

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