Defending champions Mexico and Jamaica played out a dour goalless draw at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Denver.
Much was expected of the Group C clash on Thursday – a repeat of the 2015 Gold Cup final which Mexico won 3-1 – but it did not deliver.
In fairness, Mexico were without stars Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela, Hirving Lozano, Giovani dos Santos and Andres Guardado following the Confederations Cup in Russia.
Erick Torres, however, did come close for the Mexicans, hitting the post in the first half in the only highlight of the match.
The stalemate leaves Mexico and Jamaica level on four points after two matches, a point clear of El Salvador, who beat Curacao 2-0.
Orbelin Pineda was rewarded with a start after coming off the bench and scoring in the 3-1 win over El Salvador. Unsurprisingly, Juan Carlos Osorio – serving the second of a six-game suspension – and Mexico rotated the squad as they so often do. Moises Munoz replaced goalkeeper Jose Corona, while Jesus Molina and Torres came in for Jorge Hernandez, Ricardo Reyes and Angel Sepulveda.
Darren Mattocks was also named in Jamaica’s starting XI following his goalscoring exploits as a substitute against Curacao. Fellow scorer Romario Williams, Jermaine Johnson and Omar Gordon dropped out as Michael Binns and Cory Burke were included in the line-up.
The first half was uninspiring and relatively dull, failing to reach the heights that many expected pre-game.
Neither side created any real clear-cut chances, though the best opportunity fell to Torres and the Mexicans.
It took 23 minutes but Torres glanced a header into the far post, with Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake well beaten.
That moment lifted the crowd into life but it was not enough to spark the players on the pitch as scores remained deadlocked at half-time.
The second half was much livelier early on, with Blake called into action eight minutes after the interval.
Blake was forced into a low diving save to deny Elias Hernandez from distance as he pushed the shot away for a corner.
There were decent moments in possession for Mexico and Jamaica, but both lacked the quality and decisiveness in attack.
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