By DAN KARELL
After a surprising loss in their first match of the 2013 Gold Cup, Mexico have turned their fortunes around.
Marco Fabian scored his third goal of the tournament as Mexico added two more on Sunday, defeating Martinique 3-1, winning successive games for the first time in 2013. The victory helped send Mexico through to the knockout stages as the second-placed team in Group A.
Panama won the group with seven points, drawing with Canada, 0-0. The draw sends Canada out of the tournament.
Coming off their win over the Canadians last Thursday, Mexico came out confident and looking like a different side than the one that lost to Panama in the opening match. El Tri finally found their breakthrough in the 21st minute, as Fabian acrobatically maneuvered a shot over Martinique goalkeeper Kevin Olimpa.
Mexico midfielder Luis Montes booked his place on the Gold Cup highlight reel with a long-range left footed strike that zoomed past Olimpa, giving Mexico a two goal advantage. Martinique midfielder Kevin Parsemain scored one back just before halftime with a penalty kick goal, but it wasn’t to be for the Caribbean nation.
In the 90th minute, El Tri substitute Miguel Ponce put the finishing touches on the game, sending in a cross from right back Miguel Layun into an open net after a great dummy by forward Raul Jimenez.
The opening match of the day between Canada and Panama was nearly devoid of highlights, as both sides shot just once on target, with a number of efforts sailing high or wide in the thin air of Denver.
Panama held the best chance of the match, with Jairo Jimenez firing a long-range effort that Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan needed to get a hand to, knocking it over the bar for a corner kick.
The performance by Canada in the tournament is the worst in their nation’s history in the Gold Cup. The two-time champions have only failed to win a match one other time, in 1993, but it was also the first time that they failed to score a single goal in the tournament.