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Mexico tie Venezuela late, win Copa America Centenario group

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Mexico had to come from behind to earn a valuable 1-1 draw vs. Venezuela Monday night in Houston, winning Group C in the Copa America Centenario and setting up a likely match vs. either Chile or Panama in the knockout rounds.

Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio once again tinkered with the lineup, with Rafa Marquez, Chicarito and Miguel Layún among those on the bench. Curiously, Jesús Corona was the third goalkeeper to start in three Copa America matches.

El Tri had a torrid opening half. In the 10th minute, La Vino Tinto earned a shock lead when Christian Santos sent in a long looping cross that Ajejandro Guerra firmly headed across goal, and José Manuel Velásquez was there to acrobatically volley the ball over Corona and into the net.

Soon afterward, Aquino pulled up with an injury and had to be replaced by Jesús Manuel "Tecatito" Corona. Mexico's bad luck continued in the 38th minute when a clear handball in the box by a Venezuelan defender was missed by referee Yadel Martinez. 

Jorge Torres Nilo was sacrified for Miguel Layun at the half as Mexico fought to score the equalizing goal. Despite peppering the Venezuelan net with shots, the La Vino Tinto defense stood resolute. In the 74th minute Daní Hernandez pulled off an absolutely stunning double save to give Venezuela hope of pulling off the upset.

But the dam eventually would break. In the 80th minute, Tecatito went on a Messi-esque mazy run right through a flat Venezuelan defense, tucking away a finish past Hernandez to level the match.

Corona was huge late, making a pair of saves to keep El Tri from conceding late.