HOUSTON — Jesus Manuel “Tecatito” Corona’s goal in the 80th minute gave Mexico a 1-1 tie against Venezuela on Monday night and first place in Group C of the Copa America.
Corona had missed several opportunities to score before he took on five defenders before firing off a shot from 10 yards to tie it up and thrill the overwhelmingly pro-Mexico crowd.
By winning their group, El Tri avoids a quarterfinal matchup with Lionel Messi and tournament favorite Argentina. They’re likely headed for an easier matchup with Chile in the knockout round, leaving Venezuela to face mighty Argentina.
Venezuela surprised Mexico with an early goal. The Vinotinto used a free kick to get it in the box, and Jose Manuel Velazquez gave Venezuela the lead in the 10th minute after taking an assist on a header from Christian Santos and volleying it in for the goal.
Venezuela had a chance to take the lead in the 84th minute, but goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona saved a bicycle kick shot by Josef Martinez.