LOS ANGELES: Defending champions Mexico couldn’t make their dominance pay dividends on Thursday (Friday in Manila) as they were held to a frustrating scoreless draw by Jamaica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
In a rematch of the 2015 final won by Mexico, El Tri dominated possession but couldn’t get the ball into the net of Jamaican keeper Andre Blake.
The draw, in the second match of a Group C double-header in Denver, Colorado, left both teams on four points after two games.
El Salvador are third in the group on three points after a 2-0 victory over Curacao.
Rodolfo Zelaya set up Gerson Maye’s 21st minute goal and scored himself three minutes later to lift El Salvador.
The top two teams in each group advance to the knockout stage, with the two best third-place teams out of the three groups also reaching the quarterfinals.
In a lackluster first half, the best chance fell to Mexico striker Erick Torres. The Houston Dynamo player had Blake beaten but nodded his header off the far post in the 23rd minute.
The near-miss brought the crowd to life, but did little invigorate the players.
Torres had to leave the field briefly with a cut on his hand in the 27th after a hard challenge from Jamaica’s Damion Lowe.
In the 38th, Jesus Molina’s short header caught Blake off guard but defender Jermaine Taylor cleared the ball off the line.
Mexico came out with more urgency in the second half, with Blake forced into a diving save of Elias Hernandez’s shot from outside the area in the 53rd minute.
Hedgardo Marin’s header from the center of the area was also stopped by the Jamaican keeper.
Coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who made four changes to the side that beat El Salvador 3-1 in their opener, could only look on from a stadium suite as he served the second of a six-match ban handed out by FIFA for insulting officials at the Confederations Cup in Russia last month.
Many Mexico fans among the crowd of more than 49,000 at Sports Authority Field were heading for the exits in the waning minutes.
Group C action continues on Sunday when Mexico play Curacao and Jamaica face El Salvador in San Antonio, Texas.
The quarterfinals of the regional championship for North and Central America and the Caribbean start on Wednesday.