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Updated: Sunday June 09, 2002 06:08 AM ET
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Mexico 2, Ecuador 1
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MIYAGI, Japan (Ticker) -- Gerardo Tirado scored in the second half to keep Mexico in the hunt for a spot in the second round with a 2-1 win over Ecuador in a Group G match.

Tirado's game winning goal came in 57th minute when Jared Borguetti dropped the ball to him for a one-timer through the Ecuadorian defenders from 23 yards which beat goalkeeper Jose Cevallos high to his left.

Ecuador took the early lead inside five minutes when former Necaxa striker Agustin Delgado headed past goalkeeper Oscar Perez on a perfect feed by Ulises de la Cruz. It was Ecuador's first ever goal in the World Cup.

Mexico equalized in the 28th minute when Borgetti positioned himself in front of Ivan Hurtado and tapped the ball past Cevallos. Borgetti also hit the outside of the post later in the second half.

Ecuador created several scoring chances in the closing minutes, with a close range shot by Carlos Tenorio turned aside by Perez. Walter Ayovi also tested Perez with a 20-yard drive that missed just wide of the left post.

Mexico has six points and tops the group, but is yet to clinch a spot in the second round. They play Italy (3 points) in the closing match on June 13, the same day Ecuador faces Croatia (3 pts). Ecuador is a long shot of advancing as it needs to win big against Croatia and for Mexico to beat Italy.

Delgado could not muster further action up front as he was held tight by the Mexican defenders which held Ecuador to just seven shots. Delgado was the top scorer for Necaxa in the 2000 Mexican League before becoming the first Ecuadorian to play in the English Premier League when he signed with Southampton last year.

Mexico made 11 attempts on goal which forced Cevallos to make some quality saves. Mexico improved to 3-0-3 against Ecuador in the past six meetings and is unbeaten in five games at the World Cup dating to 1998 in the group stage.

Coach Javier Aguirre, who was hired in 2001 when Mexico nearly fell out of contention of getting a ticket to the World Cup, became the first Mexican coach to beat a South American team in a World Cup match following a previous 0-5-2 record.

"This was great win for us and a special feeling of finally beating a team from the South American continent," Aguirre said. "I know we have not qualified for the second round going into a must win situation against Italy. I hope my players continue continue to play hard and consistent. We win we go on, we lose we go home."

 


 
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