Concacaf champions Mexico lose to SA

Defending champions Mexico lost a Concacaf Gold Cup game for the first time since 2002, dropping a 2-1 decision to South Africa in a first-round game on Friday night.

Philip Evans and Elrio van Heerden scored for South Africa, who dealt Mexico just their fourth loss in the competition since the tournament began in 1997.

In the late game, Guatemala’s Carlos Ruiz scored three goals but it wasn’t enough. Playing with 10 men for 75 minutes, Jamaica beat Guatemala 4-3.

Luton Shelton, Ricardo Fuller, Andy Williams and Jermaine Hue scored for Jamaica, who share first place in group C with South Africa.

Four group-A matches in Miami, Florida, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, meanwhile, were postponed for a day by the approach of Hurricane Dennis, which has killed at least 10 in the Caribbean.

“It is better to be safe than sorry,” Concacaf general secretary Chuck Blazer said in a statement.

South Africa won with a roster devoid of their top players. Only six participated in World Cup qualifying, and two starters made their first international appearances.

Evans scored his first international goal in the 28th minute.

Lebohang Mokoena headed Van Heerden’s corner kick to an unmarked Evans, who headed the ball off the inside of the right post from three yards.

Van Heerden, who plays for Denmark’s FC Copenhagen, added his first international goal in the 41st minute.

Siyabango Nomvete crossed from the right side of the penalty area on a counterattack.
Van Heerden slid, deflecting the ball between goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona and the left post from five yards.

Francisco Rodriguez scored in the 83rd minute on a seven-yard header off Luis Ernesto Perez’s right-wing cross.

Mexico had two shots hit posts. Rafael Marquez Lugo’s 14-yard volley ricocheted off the base of the right post in the 25th minute, and Omar Bravo’s diving header hit the left post in the 76th minute.

In the later match, Jamaica held a 2-1 lead when defender Claude Davis received a red card in the 15th minute for tripping Ruiz from behind.

Shelton scored in the third minute and Fuller in the fifth to put Jamaica ahead 2-0. Ruiz, one of FC Dallas’s leading forwards, converted a penalty kick in the 11th minute.

Jamaica’s Andy Williams, who plays for Real Salt Lake, extended the lead to 3-1 with a penalty in the 45th minute. Ruiz narrowed the deficit with a seven-yard header in first-half stoppage time.

Hue gave Jamaica a 4-2 lead with an 18-yard shot in the 57th minute. Ruiz ended the scoring with a 21-yard shot in the 87th minute.—Sapa-AP