Mexico wary of giant-killer Jamaica in Gold Cup final

Written By Dejan Kalinic
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(Getty Images)

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera warned his team against taking Jamaica lightly in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final on Sunday.

Herrera's side claimed a controversial 2-1 win over 10-man Panama after extra time in the semifinal in Atlanta.

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El Tri needed a late penalty kick goal from Andres Guardado to equalize in regulation time, and a second Guardado spot kick helped Mexico capitalize on its numerical advantage.

Herrera had been under growing pressure after several unconvincing performances. His team won one group game — thrashing Cuba — as it finished second to Trinidad and Tobago.

Mexico then scraped past Costa Rica thanks to a 124th-minute penalty kick goal from Guardado, and that spot kick was also controversial. However, Herrera's team is just a win away from claiming the nation's 10th Gold Cup title — and it is the favorite to do so.

Not that it will be easy. Jamaica showed quality, denying suggestions the tournament was easier after United States' semifinal loss to Winfried Schafer's side.

"United States played a great game, came, but did not take chances," Herrera said. "Jamaica plays well, keep possession well and have quick players. We have to be attentive, nothing is easy."

Guardado has five goals in the tournament, including all three Mexico goals in the knockout stages — all from the penalty spot.

For Jamaica, Sunday's clash at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia will mark its first Gold Cup final. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. ET, with television coverage by FOX Sports 1, Univision and Sportsnet.

Saturday's third-place game between the U.S. and Panama begins at 4 p.m. ET at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. TV coverage: FOX Sports, Univision, Sportsnet.

Schafer's side finished atop its group before edging Haiti and upsetting USA. Former Derby County and West Brom attacker Giles Barnes, now at Houston Dynamo, and Reading winger Garath McCleary have led the way.

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