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Mexico 2-0 Jamaica: Chicharito goal, missed penalty moves Mexico to knockout stage

Mexico v Jamaica: Group C - Copa America Centenario

PASADENA, CA - JUNE 09: Chicharito #14 of Mexico celebrates after his goal in front of Andre Blake #1 of Jamaica to take a 1-0 lead during Copa America Centenario at the Rose Bowl on June 9, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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Chicharito played hero again as his first-half goal saw Mexico through to the group stage past a quality Jamaica side. Clayton Donaldson had gobs of chances for the Reggae Boyz, but ultimately could not finish any of them, denied a clear penalty shout in the process.

A bright first half for Jamaica saw them test the Mexican goal, but poor finishing doomed them to defeat as an 18th-minute goal by Javier Hernandez saw Mexico through to the knockout stage.

Jamaica played on the counter to start, and they had the game’s first chance. On six minutes, a ball through sprung Clayton Donaldson clean through down the right edge of the penalty area. With teammates waiting in front of net and only two Mexican defenders tracking back, Donaldson went for goal and dragged it just wide of the far post.

Despite that chance giving Jamaica confidence, it was Mexico who struck first. In the 18th minute, a cross from Tecatito Corona caught Jamaican defender Wes Morgan sucked too far towards the ball. The delivery found the head of Chicharito Hernandez, who rose high in the air and powered it with pinpoint accuracy inside the far post for the opener.

[ MORE: Uruguay all but out as Venezuela wins 1-0 ]

With the lead, Mexico held more possession, but looked somewhat sloppy without the suspended Andres Guardado, and Jamaica lit them up. A big 35th minute chance went begging as a Gareth McCleary shot from close range was heroically blocked by Corona. Yet another chance minutes later missed too as Mexico defended frantically, with the ball falling to Michael Hector at point-blank range, but his shot was right at Ochoa who saved well. A third just before halftime saw Donaldson lose possession with a heavy touch in the box, and Mexico survived the onslaught.

Following the break, Mexico had a bungled chance of their own. A looping cross from Corona to the far post found Raul Jiminez at a very tight angle. He tried to sneak it by Andre Blake, but instead the ball trickled across the face of goal, just out of reach of Chicharito.

Jamaica was unlucky not to be level in the 64th minute when Mexican defender Yasser Corona very clearly brought down Donaldson on the break, but somehow the referee refused to give the blatant penalty.

That was essentially the final chance for Jamaica, who could just muster one more chance, a late rip by Hector forcing a big save by Ochoa. Oribe Peralta, on for Chicharito, scored to wrap it up with 10 minutes to go. The result means that both Venezuela and Mexico clinch spots in the knockout stage from Group C, although they still must play for positioning. Meanwhile, both Uruguay and Jamaica are eliminated.

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