x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Mexico capital erupts in ecstasy after Vela heroics

Mexico City was alive with song on Sunday as ecstatic football fans vocalised their joy, following a 5-0 trouncing of the United States in the Gold Cup final.

Mexico City was alive with song on Sunday as ecstatic football fans vocalised their joy, following a 5-0 trouncing of the United States in the Gold Cup final. Red, white and green Mexican flags lit up the streets of the vibrant city, as jubilant supporters gathered in front of the Independence Monument - known as "The Angel" - to celebrate the Mexico team's success in festive fashion.

Arsenal's Carlos Vela was the star of the show, putting in a pivotal performance to help Mexico claim their eighth Concacaf Gold Cup. Coming off the bench at the start of the second half, the 20-year-old helped transform what had been a tight, nervy game into a lesson in skill for the US. Both sides had found the goal out of reach in the first half. Mexico captain, Gerardo Torrado changed the face of the game 11 minutes after the break, firing his side into the lead from the spot after a poor tackle from Jay Heaps brought down Giovani Dos Santos inside the area.

The 1-0 lead boosted Mexico's spirits as they picked up the pace, sending wave after wave of attacks at the Confederation Cup winners. Mexico doubled their lead in the 62nd minute when a spurt from Vela down the left flank helped him pick out the tournament's lead goalscorer, Miguel Sabah. Sabah saw his shot saved, but the rebound fell to Dos Santos who slotted the ball away with ease from close range.

Vela made his presence felt five minutes later, connecting with a Dos Santos pass in front of the penalty area. The 20-year-old player fired the ball into the bottom right corner to chalk his name on the scoresheet. The striker turned provider again in the 79th minute, tearing the USA defence apart to slot a perfectly weighted ball through to Jose Castro for a simple finish. Mexico were not ready to ease off as Fausto Pinto found Guillermo Franco who answered by slotted the ball into the bottom left corner from just outside the penalty area for Mexico's fifth of the night.

zgriffiths@thenational.ae