Mexico beats New Zealand 5-1 in first leg

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Mexico beats New Zealand 5-1 in first leg

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Oribe Peralta scored twice and Mexico beat New Zealand 5-1 on Wednesday in the first leg of their intercontinental playoff to close in on a spot in the World Cup next year.

Paul Aguilar put Mexico ahead in the 32nd minute, and Raul Jimenez made it 2-0 before the break. Peralta scored his first goal 3 minutes into the second half, collecting a cross from the left and slotting home a shot from 6 yards. He made it 4-0 with an 80th-minute header, and Rafael Marquez added scored in the 84th. Chris James scored a minute later for New Zealand.

The second leg is next Wednesday in Wellington, New Zealand.

Mexico scored only seven goals in 10 qualifying games, but broke through under new coach Miguel Herrera. Herrera, the team's fourth coach in two months, used only players based in Mexico's domestic league.

Mexico finished behind the United States, Costa Rica and Honduras in CONCACAF qualifying, with those three advancing automatically to Brazil. Mexico only secured fourth place after the United States scored two late goals last month to beat Panama.

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