Mexico secure Copa America spot after dramatic CNL win vs. Honduras


Is Lozano's future in danger if Mexico fail to advance past Honduras?

Mauricio Pedroza debates whether Jaime Lozano will be sacked if Mexico fail to progress to the Nations League semifinals.

Mexico earned a place in the 2024 Copa America after securing a 2-0 win over Honduras (2-2 on aggregate) that sent their Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal series to a penalty shootout and a 4-2 win for 'El Tri'.

Held in Mexico City's Estadio Azteca on Tuesday, the hosts were immediately on the front foot after their previous 2-0 away loss in the first quarterfinal leg.

Following a header from midfielder Érick Sánchez that hit the woodwork in the second minute, Mexico continued to ramp up their pressure against a Honduran backline that appeared increasingly overwhelmed.

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Eventually shifting momentum, the visitors found attacking moments of their own near the midpoint of the first half after testing Mexico goalkeeper Angel Malagon, who was forced to make a pair of crucial saves.

The hosts then swung things back in their favor with a goal in the 43rd minute from midfielder Luis Chávez. Standing over a free-kick close to 30 yards away from net, Chavez caught opposing goalkeeper Edrick Menjivar off-guard with a clever shot that put Mexico up 1-0.

After the halftime break, Malagon was forced to make another vital save in the 61st minute following a short-range header from Honduras' Anthony Lozano.

Recognizing the need to refresh a tiring squad, Mexico's "Jimmy" Lozano began to gradually bring on substitutions like Cesar Huerta, Julián Quiñones, Santiago Giménez and Luis Romo through three separate windows in the second half.

Ramping up their attacking pressure once again, El Tri midfielder Edson Álvarez then scored a dramatic injury time goal in the 101st minute that leveled the aggregate scoreline, sending the quarterfinal series into extra time. Although additional substitutes Orbelín Pineda and Julián Araujo continued Mexico's pressure into extra time, no goals were scored in the additional halves, pushing the match to penalties.

With goals from Johan Vásquez, Gimenez, Pineda and Huerta -- who was given three chances to take his penalty after Menjivar came off his line twice -- Mexico secured a 4-2 win in the shootout and a place in the Copa America.

Mexico will close out the year with a Dec. 16 friendly against Colombia at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In March of 2024, they'll then continue their Nations League journey through the semifinal round. During the same month, Honduras wil take part in a do-or-die play-in match for Copa America qualification.