COLUMBUS (UNITED STATES) • Mexico captain Rafael Marquez said his winning goal in Friday's 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory over the United States could help the Mexican people forget the "intolerance" of the US presidential election.
The 37-year-old glanced in a superb header from a corner in the 89th minute to stun the hosts as their winning streak against Mexico in Columbus came to an end.
Asked whether the win was particularly sweet after the tensions caused by US President-elect Donald Trump's controversial remarks about Mexican illegal immigrants, Marquez said: "Maybe now they have a bad time, a time of intolerance and with this win maybe they can forget now a little bit what happened here in the US."
"It was a long time that we haven't had a good game (here). We are very happy and this is very important for us," he added, referencing the run of four straight 2-0 defeats in Columbus in World Cup qualifiers going back to 2001.
His coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, said the players had been rewarded with the sweet moment of his goal.
"Rafael has a love for the game like no one else. He always trains as hard as he can, considering his age. He wants to play in all the games," said the Mexico coach. "Today, I think football, the game itself, rewarded him and I am very pleased for him," Osorio said.
The pulsating encounter at the Mapfre stadium saw Mexico take the lead through Miguel Layun's 20th-minute strike.
The US fought back to draw level through striker Bobby Wood four minutes into the second half, before Marquez's winner.
"It confirmed what we all thought before the game - it would be a very intense, hard-fought game and that is how it turned out," said US coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
The US are away in Costa Rica on Tuesday in their second of 10 games in the final round of Concacaf qualifying and Klinsmann said he was keen for his team not to fall behind in the race for a top-three spot.
"The message is very simple - we have to go down there and get a result, which we will do.
"Obviously it (the defeat by Mexico) is disappointing without a doubt. It gives a sense of anger in us, a sense of urgency. We don't want to be behind."