MEXICO CITY – Oribe Peralta scored twice and Mexico beat New Zealand 5-1 on Wednesday in the first leg of their intercontinental playoff to close in on a spot in the World Cup next year.
Paul Aguilar put Mexico ahead in the 32nd minute, and Raul Jimenez made it 2-0 before the break. Peralta connected twice in the second half and Rafael Marquez added a goal.
Chris James had a late goal for New Zealand.
The second leg is next Wednesday in Wellington, New Zealand.
Mexico scored only seven goals in 10 qualifying games, but broke through under new coach Miguel Herrera. Herrera, the team's fourth coach in two months, used only players based in Mexico's domestic league.