Pulido has 3, Mexico through in Olympic qualifying

Alan Pulido scored three goals to send Mexico through into the

semifinals of Olympic qualifying with a 3-0 win over Honduras on

Sunday.

After two comprehensive wins, Mexico is one win from making the

London Games.

Mexico’s skilled passing overwhelmed the Central Americans, who

struggled to create offense.

Mexico was rewarded quickly enough. In the 15th minute, Javier

Aquino went on a sprinting run down the field before playing off to

Pulido, who beat a Honduran defender before firing in the opening

goal. Pulido struck again in the 40th minute of play when he fired

a shot from 22 yards that beat outstretched goalkeeper Jose

Mendoza.

The forward from Tigres UNAL in the Mexican league completed his

hat trick just 41 seconds into the second half when he and Aquino

connected again.

The raucous crowd of 16,184 made for a contentious match from

the start as referee Elmer Bonilla was forced to confront both

teams for a series of hard challenges.

Down a goal, Honduras used their physical play to attempt to

claw back into the match. Honduras nearly leveled in the 36th

minute as a shot from Mario Martinez from distance took a

deflection at the box and forced a diving save by Mexico goalkeeper

Liborio Sanchez.

But Pulido got his second on a shot from over 20 yards out that

beat the outstretched Mendoza. After the third goal, Honduras coach

Luis Fernando Torres made a number of attacking substitutions in

hopes of breaking the shutout.

D.C. United midfielder Andy Najar was an unused substitute for

Honduras.

Honduras faces Trinidad and Tobago, and Mexico plays Panama. All

three of the other Group B teams can still advance to the

semifinals.