Soccer-Mexico, Canada remain unbeaten in World Cup qualifying


Soccer Football - World Cup - CONCACAF Qualifiers - El Salvador v Mexico - Estadio Cuscatlan, San Salvador, El Salvador - October 12, 2021 Mexico players lineup before the match REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

(Reuters) - Mexico claimed a 2-0 win at El Salvador on Wednesday while Canada thrashed Panama 4-1 at home as both teams remained unbeaten in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

Leaders Mexico are on 14 points from six matches, three points clear of the United States, who beat Costa Rica 2-1. Canada, bidding to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986, are third on 10 points.

The top three in the eight-team group qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 with the fourth-placed finisher going into an intercontinental playoff for another spot.

In San Salvador, Hector Moreno struck 31 minutes into the first half to put Mexico ahead at Estadio Cuscatlan before Raul Jimenez added a second in stoppage time.

The flag-waving U.S. crowd in Columbus were stunned when Costa Rica took the lead in just the second minute when Keysher Fuller strolled unmarked into the penalty area and bounced a Ronald Matarrita cross past Zack Steffen.

Sergino Dest equalised in the 25th minute with a left-footed howitzer that found the top corner and the United States went ahead in the 66th minute, Tim Weah firing home from close range.

After draws at Mexico and Jamaica in their last two qualifiers, Canada fell behind at home to Panama early on when Rolando Blackburn scored after five minutes.

But the Canadians then began to dominate and were rewarded with an own goal from Panama's Michael Murillo off an Alphonso Davies corner.

Davies then put Canada ahead in the 66th minute, keeping the ball in play on the right touchline, weaving his way into the penalty area around a Panama defender and then coolly finishing past the flat-footed keeper Luis Mejia.

Goals from Tajon Buchanan and Jonathan David gave the Canadians the comfortable win.

"We have a strong mindset with this team," said Davies. "He (coach John Herdman) has a plan and everyone executed the plan and this just shows the talent we have on this team."

In San Pedro Sula, Kemar Roofe and Oneil Fisher scored to give Jamaica a 2-0 victory over Honduras, the first win of the campaign for the 'Reggae Boyz'.

Panama are fourth with eight points followed by Costa Rica on six, Jamaica and El Salvador on five and Honduras three.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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