10-man Guatemala stifles Mexico for Gold Cup point

Action from the CONCACAF Gold Cup game between Guatemala and Mexico (white jersey) on July 12, 2015, in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo: Mexsport)

GLENDALE, Arizona – Despite being reduced a man after Jose Contreras’ second-half ejection, Guatemala (0-1-1, 1 point) played Mexico (1-1-0, 4 points) to a 0-0 draw in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The result means that Trinidad & Tobago (2-0-0, 6 points), which has already sealed a place in the quarterfinals, is the Group B leader thanks to its 2-0 win over Cuba (0-0-2, 0 points) earlier in the evening.

Contreras was sent off in the 76th minute for a foul on Paul Aguilar that resulted in referee Armando Castro issuing the 29-year-old his second caution. It was one of 23 fouls committed by the Central American runner-up.

Though the game generated an abundant of amount of action, it did not produce many valid scoring opportunities. The best came in the 86th minute, when Mexico’s Hector Herrera ripped a 20-yard shot off the right post.

Guatemala nearly took the lead in the first half. With a delightful chip, the influential Carlos Ruiz found Minor Lopez racing into the left side of the box. The forward Lopez targeted the right side of the net with his attempt, but it floated agonizingly wide from 10-yards out.

If not for a tremendous save by goalkeeper Paulo Motta in the 33rd minute, Andres Guardado would have made Guatemala pay for that miss. Herrera delivered a picture-perfect cross from the right to the PSV Eindhoven star, who connected with it inside the goal box. Somehow Motta reacted quickly for the block at point-blank range.

In the 75th minute, Herrera tried to scoop into the net from the edge of the six-yard box, but Motta was well positioned and gathered it in.

Mexico failed to score for the first time in 32 Gold Cup games, while Guatemala got its second point against the six-time champion in seven all-time meetings in the tournament.

Both sides return to action on Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, with Guatemala facing Cuba and Mexico taking on the Trinidadians.

NOTES: Mexico defeated visiting Guatemala, 3-0, in a friendly on May 30, 2015.