Haiti’s forward Frantzdy Pierrot celebrates scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory over Qatar in a CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B match (Mark FELIX)
Luis Romo struck twice as Mexico crushed Honduras 4-0, while a stoppage time winner from Frantzdy Pierrot gave Haiti a 2-1 victory over Qatar in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Sunday.
Jamaica held the United States to a 1-1 draw in the opener on Saturday and then Trinidad and Tobago defeated St Kitts and Nevis 3-0 in the other group A game on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale.
Mexico, the record eight-times winner of the tournament for North and Central America and the Caribbean, came into the clash with Honduras in Houston after firing Argentine coach Diego Cocca and appointing Jaime Lozano on an interim basis.
Cocca was dismissed after the Nations League semi-final 3-0 defeat to the United States and El Tri made the perfect start to Lozano’s reign.
It took just 51 seconds for Mexico to find the target when Romo collected a clearance, took one touch and then, from the edge of the box, drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
Roma made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute when Jesus Gallardo headed a corner towards him and he nodded the ball past Honduras keeper Luis Lopez.
Orbelin Pineda, produced a clever one-two, on the edge of the box with Henry Martin, bursting into the area before blasting home.
Luis Chavez completed the rout with a toe-poked finish in the 64th minute as the 66,500, overwhelmingly Mexican, crowd celebrated their team’s timely return to form.
In group B’s other game, Qatar, featuring as a guest team in the tournament for the second time, took the lead in the 20th minute through Yusuf Abdurisag.
Haiti keeper Alexandre Pierre dropped a high cross and in the resulting scramble Mostafa Meshaal slipped the ball back to Abdurisag who curled the ball into the far corner.
The Caribbean nation, whose team operate at just a fraction of the budget of the 2022 World Cup hosts, drew level on the stroke of half-time from the penalty spot.
Pierrot’s shot hit the outstretched arm of defender Tarek Salman and Duckens Nazon made no mistake with the penalty kick.
Derrick Etienne hit the post for Haiti, who pushed forward in search of a late winner and they were rewarded late in stoppage time when Carnejy Antoine broke down the left and squared for Pierrot who slotted in the winner.
Heavy rain in South Florida delayed the start of the all-Caribbean clash at Inter Miami’s DRV PNK stadium and when Trinidad and St Kitts took to the field, there were still heavy patches of water.
Alvin Jones opened the scoring two minutes before the break with a well-taken effort, chesting down a lofted ball from Neveal Hackshaw and firing home.
Ajani Fortune doubled the lead with a solo effort in the 65th minute, jinking past two defenders before firing into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
An own goal from Jameel Ible, who turned in a low Levi Garcia cross, completed a comfortable win for Trinidad.
Mexico were facing Honduras in Group B later on Sunday.