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EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Cyle Larin scored late in the first half and early in the second, then celebrated in front of snow bank in leading Canada over Mexico 2-1 on Tuesday in a chilly World Cup qualifier played at what was dubbed “Iceteca Stadium.”
Jesús Gallardo headed in a 90th-minute goal for Mexico.
Seeking a homefield advantage against the Mexicans, Canada scheduled the game for Commonwealth Stadium, where it was 16 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-9 Celsius) at kickoff — well below the 52 (11 Celsius) for Friday’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica on the same artificial turf field.
Larin scored in the second minute of first-half stoppage time and doubled the lead in the 52nd with his 10th goal of qualifying.
Mexico had not lost at Canada since the 1990 North American Cup and had not dropped a qualifier against the Canadians since October 1976.
Alistair Johnston’s bouncing 25-yard shot was spilled by Guillermo Ochoa, and Larin converted the rebound from 3 yards for the go-ahead goal.
Larin stuck out his right foot to redirect Stephen Eustáquio’s free kick, then headed to the corner where snow was piled after falling earlier in the day. Traces of snow were near the flags where players took corner kicks.
“As is standard practice for all matches, per the laws of the game the referee will determine if the field is playable,” CONCACAF spokesman Nicholas Noble wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “This happens as a matter of course.”
Gallardo got his first international goal, beating goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
The loss put pressure on the Mexican Football Federation and coach Tata Martino. El Tri, used to playing in the altitude of Mexico City's Estadio Azteca, has four wins, two losses and two draws with six games remaining.
Canada, seeking its first World Cup appearance since 1986, moved into first place in North and Central America and the Caribbean with 16 points, followed by the United States with 15. Mexico was third with 14 points, ahead of Panama on goal difference.
Costa Rica (nine), Jamaica (seven), El Salvador (six) and Honduras (three) trail.
The top three nations qualify for next year’s World Cup, and the No. 4 team advances to a playoff.
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The Associated Press