Mexico needed a pair of late goals from Pavel Pardo to avoid defeat at their fabled Azteca on Thursday, while the USA were forced to struggle for their hard-earned three-point haul in Guatemala City. Join FIFA.com for a look back at the first day of group stage 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying in CONCACAF.
Mexico faced the possibility of only their second-ever defeat at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City when they trailed Honduras 1-0 at half-time, thanks to Julio Cesar De Leon's 35th-minute strike. But Pavel Pardo, veteran of so many tough matches for El Tri, scored twice in three minutes to spare the blushes of new coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and give Mexico all three points.
Later in the day, Mexico's arch-rivals USA managed a 1-0 win in Guatemala on the road despite being dominated for large portions of the match. The Chapines' finishing let them down on the night, and American defender Carlos Bocanegra made them pay with a goal in the 68th minute.
Trinidad and Tobago got off to the perfect start. Two goals from locally-based midfielder Keon Daniel set them on the way to victory over their hosts Cuba in Havana, in the opening game of Group 1. Cornell Glen added a third for T&T in the second half, before Jeniel Marquez gave Cuba a consolation goal five minutes from the close.
Canada were held to a draw by Jamaica in the opening match of Group 2. Spain-based midfielder Julian De Guzman opened the scoring in the 47th minute, but an own goal by Canada keeper Pat Onstad gave the Jamaicans a precious away point.
In a dramatic finish in Port-au-Prince, Suriname, who had gone into a 2-0 lead in the first half through early substitute Christoph Wensley, were pegged back to 2-2 by Haiti in the final minutes of the game. Frantz Gilles gave the home side some hope with a goal in the final minute of normal time, before Brunel Fucien sensationally leveled the scores in added time.
Costa Rica pulled off a win in the day's final game, beating El Salvador at their imposing Saprissa Stadium in San Jose. Alvaro Saborio provided the goal two minutes after the break.
ResultsHaiti 2-2 Suriname
Canada 1-1 Jamaica
Cuba 1-3 Trinidad and Tobago
Mexico 2-1 Honduras
Guatemala 0-1 USA
Costa Rica 1-0 El Salvador