Disappointing draw for Mexico at Azteca

Posted by John Parolin & Jacob Nitzberg, ESPN Stats & Information

Jamaica opened the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with a stunning point, earning a 0-0 draw with Mexico at Estadio Azteca on Wednesday.

It marked the first time since 2001 (25 matches) that Mexico failed to win a home World Cup qualifier, and only the seventh time ever (68-1-6). Mexico was shut out in a World Cup qualifier in Mexico City for the first time since a Nov. 2, 1997 draw with the United States.

Jamaica, which had lost all seven previous meetings in Mexico by a combined score of 28-2, extended a shutout streak across competitions to 208 minutes against Mexico. More importantly, Jamaica raised its chances of qualifying for the World Cup from 17.3 percent to 25.9 percent with the draw, according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index. In fact, SPI predicted Wednesday’s match to be the most lopsided of the final round, with Mexico winning 87.2 percent of SPI simulations.

Mexico’s heavyweight status was reflected in early possession (363-198 first-half touches advantage), but it was Jamaica with the best chance of the first half.

Jobi McAnuff almost opened the scoring for Jamaica in the eighth minute with a right-footed shot off the post. His follow-up from 6 yards out was kept out with a terrific save from Mexican goalkeeper Jesus Corona. McAnuff had a team-high 18 touches in the attacking third, and was the only Jamaican with multiple shots in the match.

Five Mexican players had as many touches in the attacking third as McAnuff. Mexico had a 221-74 advantage in attacking-third touches and a 28-7 edge in touches in the opposing penalty area.

Oribe Peralta created twice as many chances as Jamaica in the match, posting four of Mexico’s 15 chances created. Overall, "El Tri" completed 20 passes into the Jamaican penalty area, while "The Reggae Boyz" completed three.

Mexico couldn’t convert the decided possession advantage (65.1 percent of touches) into a goal. Defender Nyron Norsworthy was active, posting a game-high eight clearances and six intercepted passes. Jamaica blocked six of Mexico’s 21 shots.

The result capped a surprising day in the CONCACAF final round. None of the three teams that SPI predicted to advance (Mexico, United States and Costa Rica) took all three points in their opening matches. There was only a 7.9 percent chance none of the three favorites to advance would win their openers.

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