The Estadio Azteca in Mexico City played host to El Tri’s crucial home fixture against Honduras on Friday night. Both sides were coming off of relatively disappointing performances at the Gold Cup with their B/C Squads and looked to gain a vital win on the night. It was all but a must win match for Mexico and Manager Chepo de la Torre as they are winless at home this year in qualifying after going a perfect 6-0-0 last year. They had appeared to brush their problems aside with a comfortable 4-1 victory over the Ivory Coast in a friendly recently, and they looked relaxed and at ease when Oribe Perlata tapped home to give them a lead after just 6 minutes. Mexico made a key mistake after this though and failed to convert on a buffet of chances to double their lead, something that came back to bite them twice in 2 minutes with Jerry Bengston and Carlo Costly scoring for Honduras on 64 and 66 minutes respectively to suddenly tilt the score in favor of the Central Americans. The goals took the Azteca by complete surprise as the Mexican faithful went dead silent following Costly’s little dink over keeper Jose Corona. Despite the late introduction of substitute Javier Hernandez, Mexico were unable to poach a goal and instead fell 2-1 to the Hondurans who scored both a shock win on the road and in the standings.
Mexico have now fired Manager Chepo de la Torre after 2 1/2 years in charge of the national team. Torre led Mexico to an undefeated 6-0-0 stretch at home back in 2012, but the team has struggled this year (especially in WCQ) at home, losing 2 (1 in a friendly) and drawing 3. Mexico currently sit 4th in the CONCACAF Hexagonal standings, meaning that if they finish 4th, they will play New Zealand in a 2 Legged tie for a final World Cup spot. Only the top 3 in the CONCACAF standings make the World Cup automatically.
Assistant Manager Luis Fernando Tena has now been named the Interim Manager of Mexico. Tena previously coached Mexico’s youth squad and led the U-21′s to the Gold Medal at the 2012 London Olympics, where they defeated Brazil in the final.