Mexico settles for draw with Jamaica in CONCACAF Nations League

Mexico players celebrate after scoring a goal against Jamaica in the CONCACAF Nations League.
Mexico players celebrate after scoring a goal against Jamaica in the CONCACAF Nations League.
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Mexico was held to a 1-1 draw against Jamaica on a rainy Wednesday night at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica, in the CONCACAF Nations League.

Jamaica took an early lead in the fourth minute of the match when Aston Villa forward Leon Bailey split two Mexico defenders and powered a header from Shamar Nicholson's cross into the back of the net.

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Nicholson hit the crossbar before 10 minutes with an effort that would have doubled the hosts' advantage, before Mexico gradually began to control possession and find a foothold in the game.

El Tri drew level in first-half stoppage time with a header by Luis Romo, who ran onto a lobbed in pass from Luis Chavez and beat Jamaica keeper Andre Blake to send the teams into the break tied 1-1.

"In the second half we got stuck," Romo said after the match to TUDN. "I think we deserved a bit more."

Mexico defender Kevin Alvarez cleared the ball off the goalline shortly after the break to keep the score level, while Blake came up with a number of saves on the other end as the visitors turned up the pressure.

Substitutes Diego Lainez and Erick Sanchez were particularly dangerous as Mexico pushed for the winner, but none came and the match ended in a draw.

The result marks the eighth time in Mexico's last 11 matches in which it scored one goal or fewer has added more pressure for manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino ahead of the World Cup. Romo admitted the team has to be better.

"We know that we are not at our best or maximum level, but we are very aware of what we can achieve. A World Cup and an opportunity to make history motivates us a lot," Romo added.

Next up for Martino's side is a friendly against Paraguay on Aug. 31 in Atlanta, as Mexico finalizes its preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The president of the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) has also said that his country's national team will face Mexico in a friendly this September, with a specific date and U.S. venue yet to be named.

In Qatar, Mexico begin Group C play against Poland on Nov. 22, before playing Argentina on Nov. 26 and then Saudi Arabia as it looks to reach the knockout round of the World Cup.