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    Monday, March 4, 2024

    Lizbeth Ovalle Scores 2 More Goals, Mexico Reaches Women’s Gold Cup Semis with 3-2 Win Over Paraguay

    Lizbeth Ovalle scored two goals and Mexico advanced to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup with a 3-2 victory over Paraguay on Sunday.

    Karen Luna also scored and Esthefanny Barreras saved a penalty for Mexico, which followed up its landmark victory over the U.S. on Monday by outlasting Paraguay in a thrilling second half featuring four goals and many more chances for both teams.

    Mexico will face Brazil in the semifinals in San Diego on Wednesday.

    Mexico conceded its first two goals of the Gold Cup, but still hung on with the backing of an unsurprisingly supportive crowd of 13,229 in the U.S. city that’s considered the second home of Mexico’s national teams.

    Ovalle extended her star-making performance in this tournament by scoring in each half, giving her five goals in Gold Cup play. The Tigres forward also scored the first goal in the first half of Mexico’s 2-0 stunner over the U.S. with a floating shot over the defense.

    Camila Barbosa and Rebeca Fernandez scored in the second half for Paraguay, which lost to Mexico for the third time in the nations’ four meetings.

    Mexico reached the Gold Cup quarterfinals with three clean sheets in group play, capped by that victory over the powerhouse Americans — just its second win ever over the U.S.

    Although Mexico didn’t qualify for last year’s World Cup, it still hasn’t lost an international match since an exhibition defeat in September 2022.

    Mexico dominated play early and took the lead in the 31st minute when a centering pass from California-born-and-raised forward Scarlett Camberos bounced through Paraguay’s defense to Ovalle, who hit the far bottom corner of the net.

    Mexico scored again in the 49th minute when Ovalle’s corner was deflected to the top of the penalty area to the 26-year-old Luna, who hammered it home for the second goal of her first international tournament with Mexico.

    Paraguay forward Jessica Martínez got a penalty shot in the 51st minute after she was taken down in the box, but Barreras made a diving arm stop and smothered the follow-up, prompting the Los Angeles crowd to chant her name. Paraguay kept up its attack, but Mexico defender Rebeca Bernal blocked one shot with her body and headed another off the goal line in a lengthy scramble moments later.

    Barbosa finally got Paraguay on the board in the 64th minute, converting Dulce Quintana’s corner for the first goal allowed by Mexico in the tournament.

    Mexico regained a two-goal lead when Stephany Mayor forced a turnover and broke in all alone on goalkeeper Alicia Bobadilla, who stopped Mayor’s shot but couldn’t get in front of Ovalle’s rebound score.

    Fernandez got behind Mexico’s back line moments later and made it 3-2. But Paraguay couldn’t find an equalizer. AP

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