Goals by Giovanni Dos Santos, Guillermo Franco and Andres Guardado lifted Mexico over Costa Rica 3—0 on Saturday in a World Cup qualifier, putting Mexico into a strong position to reach next year’s event in South Africa.
It was Mexico’s best match in qualifying and its first victory away from home after three losses.
Dos Santos scored on a left-footed shot that silenced the hostile crowd at the Saprissa Stadium. Franco added another in the 61st minute with Guardado scored in the 70th. Dos Santos had a hand in all the goals.
Honduras and the United States have 13 points each to lead CONCACAF qualifying. Mexico and Costa Rica have 12. When qualifying ends next month, the top three teams advance automatically to the 32-team tournament. The fourth placed team faces a playoff with the fifth placed team from South America for another berth.
Costa Rica plays Wednesday at El Salvador and Mexico is home against Honduras.
The teams sparred cautiously in the opening exchanges, with Costa Rica missing injured captain and playmaker Walter Centeno.
As the half approached, Meico took the lead when Cuauhtemoc Blanco switched play and found Dos Santos, who advanced on goal before unleashing an unstoppable low drive past goalkeeper Keylor Navas into the far corner.
Mexico sealed the match in the second half with a devastating display of counter attacking football.
Efrain Juarez broke into the Costa Rica half and released Dos Santos, who forced his way into the box and squared for Franco to tap into an empty net in the 61st minute.
Mexico repeated the trick in the 70th minute when Guardado collected a cleared corner in his own half and freed Dos Santos behind the suddenly outnumbered home defence. Dos Santos drew Navas out of goal and slid the ball back to Guardado for another simple finish.