CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) – Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos scored two goals each as Mexico overcame the distraction of a potential doping scandal to beat Cuba 5-0 on Thursday and remain unbeaten at the Gold Cup.
Hours after the Mexican soccer federation suspended five players - including PSV Eindhoven defender Francisco Rodriguez and regular Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa - for testing positive for a banned substance, Mexico got off to a sluggish start before putting the game away with a three-goal burst in a 5-minute span midway through the second half.
''We knew that game was gong to be complicated,'' coach Jose Manuel De La Torre said. ''They were going to clog our spaces and counterattack. But we needed to take care of the important opportunities. You could see in the first half we weren't effective. In the second half we took advantage of opportunities and you see the result.''
Dos Santos scored twice during the flurry that overwhelmed Cuba, which has been outscored 10-0 in two games. Aldo De Negris also scored before Hernandez's second goal helped Mexico move atop Group A.
Hernandez, who scored a hat trick in Mexico's opening 5-0 win over El Salvador, was unmarked as he headed in Andres Guardado's cross in the 36th minute to put Mexico ahead to stay.
Cuba, which has been outscored 10-0 in two games, had a chance as Mexico watched Robert Linares narrowly miss a leveling goal early in the second half when his shot sailed just wide of the left post. But soon Cuba was overcome by Mexico's speed and depth.
''We played very well up until minute 61,'' Cuba coach Raul Gonzalez said. ''But we had talked about in the locker room the strategic changes we did were working very well. We were trying to prevent Mexico playing from the sidelines.''
Defending Gold Cup champion Mexico, which will be potentially without a key defender and goalkeeper, faces Costa Rica Sunday for the group title.
''We will wait for the final result,'' De La Torre said of the ensuing doping investigation. ''Not having all the players hurt, but we will be waiting for CONCACAF result and what they decide.''
Decio de Maria, the secretary general of the Mexican soccer federation, said he believes the positive results for clenbuterol come from the players eating tainted beef. CONCACAF officials will hold an emergency meeting Friday to decide if Mexico will be able to add replacement players, but has said its opening-round win over El Salvador will stand.
Defender Edgar Duenas and midfielders Christian Bermudez and Antonio Naelson ''Sinha'' also were suspended.
Cuba will close its the tournament Sunday against El Salvador.
''We have a team that has a lot of youth, a lot of promise,'' Gonzalez said. ''Our very first game we had a great defensive game and the second game we had a defensive lapse in the second half which was a 5-0 score. But it's not ruining the process and we hope in the future the team can mature and get better.''