Trinidad and Tobago almost pulled off a shock result in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Friday, but three late goals saw Mexico claim a 3-1 win in San Luis Potosi.
Having trailed up until the 78th minute, Javier Hernandez’s 88th-minute goal put Mexico ahead before Hector Herrera sealed victory in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Mexico dominated play for the majority of the match, but Trinidad and Tobago’s Shahdon Winchester opened the scoring in the 66th minute.
A late blitz with goals from Hirving Lozano, Hernandez and Herrera rescued the result for the home side.
Defeating CONCACAF’s bottom-placed team in the ‘Hexagonal’ round, Mexico remain top on 21 points after nine games, having already secured automatic qualification for Russia 2018.
Juan Carlos Osorio’s side are six points ahead of second-placed Costa Rica, who will face Honduras on Saturday.
Now on a six-game losing streak in qualifying, Trinidad and Tobago will likely finish the qualification cycle with a solitary win, with the United States to come on Tuesday.
13 Minutos, tres goles y voltereta…
Mexico started in predictably dominant fashion, but their best chances still only came from dead-ball situations.
Miguel Layun almost put the hosts in front in the 15th minute, but his spectacular free-kick from distance flashed just wide of the post.
Mexico had another opportunity from a set-piece after smooth interplay between Jesus Corona and Giovani dos Santos.
However, Andres Guardado was brilliantly denied by Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Adrian Foncette, diving low to his right.
Although Guardado and Herrera were highly busy, play seemed to stagnate in the first half, with Corona and Javier Aquino largely isolated on the flanks.
In the 43rd minute however, Hernandez was denied by a last-ditch intervention from Curtis Gonzales, after Corona’s brilliant ball into the penalty area.
Aside from early shots for Nathan Lewis and Leston Paul, Trinidad and Tobago were increasingly embedded in their own half following the interval.
Herrera wasted another opportunity in the 54th minute. After a quick ball forward, the Porto midfielder had Foncette committed but with Gonzales supplying pressure, put his effort from close range wide.
Trinidad and Tobago then took a shock lead via a quick counter-attack past the hour-mark. Following a long ball, Winchester found himself one-on-one with Jose Corona and curled his right-footed shot in off the post.
Already having brought on Lozano and Carlos Vela, Osorio sent numbers forward with a third substitution, as Oribe Peralta replaced Diego Reyes.
Two of Osorio’s substitutes were pivotal in Mexico restoring parity in the 78th minute. Peralta released the overlapping Layun, whose cutback found Lozano.
In contrast to his team-mates, the PSV midfielder did not panic and finished first-time.
Hernandez reacted quickest to make it 2-1 10 minutes later, before Herrera capped off the victory with a superb 94th-minute free-kick.