Javier Hernandez’s hat trick was more than enough for Mexico.
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Hernandez scored three times Sunday night and Mexico relied on its stingy defense to rout El Salvador 5-0 in the opening match for both teams at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
”The most important thing is we got the three points, not the hat trick” Hernandez said.
His first goal came in the 60th minute on a header from the top of the box. Efrain Juarez set up the goal with a corner kick from the left side, and Hernandez headed a shot that bounced on the ground and into the left corner of the net.
Seven minutes later, Hernandez knocked in a shot from inside 10 yards for Mexico’s fourth goal in a 12-minute span, and he scored against in second-half stoppage time.
”He was fortunate to score as a result of good team play,” Mexico coach Jose Manuel De La Torre said. ”He did what forwards are supposed to do.”
Hernandez’s final goal came on a penalty kick when he chipped a shot into the right corner of the net. The kick was awarded after Marvin Gonzalez was handed a red card for a reckless foul on Hernandez, drawing boos from the majority of the 80,000 fans who were rooting for Mexico.
”It’s unbelievable the support we have from the Mexicans we have that live here. You can see it with your own eyes,” Hernandez said, ”80,000 people and most of them in green shirts.”
Mexico wound up with nine shots on goal compared to two for El Salvador. The defending Gold Cup champions are now 12-1-6 all-time in the tournament against Central American nations.
Juarez scored the game’s first goal after he rebounded his own missed shot, which was swatted back at him by El Salvador goalkeeper Miguel Montes. Aldo De Nigris added another goal in the 57th minute for Mexico just a minute after replacing Israel Castro.
”It was difficult to change in 5 minutes after a positive 55 minutes,” El Salvador coach Ruben Israel said. ”If you look at the game, luck was not on our side.”