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Mexico City • Mexico swept to a 5-1 victory over New Zealand in the first leg of their intercontinental playoff on Wednesday to become the overwhelming favorite for a place at next year's World Cup finals.
Paul Aguilar put Mexico ahead in the 32nd minute and Raul Jimenez made 2-0 before the break. Oribe Peralta added two more in the second half before Rafael Marquez scored in the 84th and Chris James grabbed a consolation goal for New Zealand a minute later.
Mexico, which was lucky to reach the playoff, faces New Zealand in the second leg next Wednesday.
Mexico scored only seven goals in 10 qualifying games, but broke through under new coach Miguel Herrera. Herrera, the fourth Mexico coach in two months, used only players based in Mexico's domestic league.