Many in the sold-out crowd at the Oakland Coliseum arrived hoping to see something special from Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, the golden boy of Mexican soccer.
He did not disappoint them.
The Manchester United star scored twice in the first half to lead Mexico past Paraguay, 3-0, in a friendly on Saturday. Deportivo La Coruña winger Andrés Guardado notched the third goal.
[inline_node:332110]Paraguayan midfielder Cristian Riveros, who plays his club ball for EPL side Sunderland, struck a late consolation goal.
New York Red Bulls center back Rafa Márquez, making his first appearance for El Tri since the hiring of manager José Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre, was honored for earning his 100th cap for Mexico.
Chicharito opened the scoring early with a diving header in the 7th minute. Pablo Barrera curled a cross in behind the defense from the right side. Surrounded by three defenders, Chicharito was still first to the ball, whipping his header past Justo Villar from inside the 6-yard box.
Guardado doubled the lead in the 28th minute, collecting a cross, again from the right side, and thumping a volley in from close range.
The final nail in the coffin came just six minutes later, as Chicharito again found the back of the net. Ricardo Osorio was released in behind the defense, and centered the ball across the goalmouth. For Chicharito, it was just a simple tap in.
He was removed in the 65th minute to a standing ovation from the overwhelmingly pro-Mexico crowd.
Riveros made the match interesting with an 87th-minute goal that squirted in off a deflection, but by then the match was over for all intents and purposes.
El Tri will take on Venezuela on Tuesday in San Diego, while Paraguay travel to Nashville to face the USA.
Mexico: Alfredo Talavera, Ricardo Osorio (Paul Nicolás Aguilar 79’), Rafael Márquez, Francisco Javier 'Maza' Rodríguez, Carlos Salcido, Pablo Barrera (Carlos Vela 75’), Israel Castro, Gerardo Torrado, Andrés Guardado (Jorge Torres 64’), Sinha (Geovani dos Santos 70’), Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (Aldo di Nigris 65’)
Paraguay: Justo Villar, Darío Verón (Marcos Caceres 71’), Antolín Alcaraz, Paulo da Silva, Enrique Vera, Cristian Riveros, Aureliano Torres, Néstor Ortigoza (Marcelo Estigarriba 60’), Edgar 'Pájaro' Benítez (Hernan Arsenio Perez 60’), Osvaldo Martínez (Oscar Cardozo 60’), Lucas Barrios