World up play-off: Mexico ease to 5-1 win over New Zealand in first leg

Mexico moved to the brink of the World Cup as they recorded an emphatic 5-1 win over New Zealand in the first leg of their qualifying play-off at the Azteca stadium.

First-half goals from Paul Aguilar and Raul Jimenez put Mexico 2-0 ahead at the break, Oribe Peralta then extended the lead with a brace before Rafa Marquez added a fifth with six minutes remaining.

New Zealand pulled a goal back soon after through Chris James but that is likely to be little more than a consolation with their World Cup hopes now looking in tatters.

Mexico boss Miguel Herrera named an entirely home-based squad for the clash, leaving Europe-based players such as Javier Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos,at their clubs, in order to take advantage of a stadium located at the 2,000 metres above sea level.

The Tri took control right from the start.

New Zealand goalkeeper Glen Moss saved Carlos Pena’s shot in the opening minutes before Francisco Rodriguez’s thunderous long-range effort came back off the crossbar.

Defender Aguilar then gave Mexico a deserved lead when he tapped home the loose ball after Moss, visiting defender Andrew Durante and Mexico forward Peralta had all challenged for a chip into the area.

Moss twice more came to New Zealand’s rescue before Jimenez headed home a free-kick to double the scoring five minutes before half-time.

It became 3-0 at the start of the second half when Peralta connected with Miguel Layun’s cross to send the home fans wild, and the pair linked up again with 10 minutes remaining to add a fourth.

Layun beat the defence on the left and delivered a cross which Peralta headed into the net.

In the next attack, veteran defender Marquez headed home the fifth from a free-kick before James pulled one back to give the visitors a little cheer on what was otherwise a miserable afternoon for the visitors.

The second leg will be played next Wednesday in Wellington.