(CNN) -- Mexico came from behind to defeat the United States 2-1 on Wednesday in a highly-charged World Cup qualifying match that kept alive the North American nation's hopes of reaching the 2010 finals in South Africa.
Mexico's Israel Castro celebrates after scoring against the United States in World Cup qualifying action.
U.S. striker Charlie Davies put the visitors ahead in the ninth minute, firing in at the far post after being set up on the counter-attack by captain Landon Donovan.
Ten minutes later Mexico drew level, as Israel Castro smashed a long-range shot that crashed off the underside of the crossbar and past American goalkeeper Tim Howard.
With nine minutes left in regulation time, substitute Miguel Sabah took a pass from Efrain Juarez and fired a fierce volley into the top of the American net.
The victory gave Mexico nine points in their CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group -- one point behind the U.S. and Honduras.
Costa Rica sit atop the group with 12 points despite a shock 4-0 defeat by Honduras, for whom striker Carlos Costly scored twice.
The top three teams will clinch a berth to South Africa next year, while the fourth-placed team must face a playoff against a South American side to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.
Javier Aguirre's Mexico next travel to Costa Rica on September 5, while Bob Bradley's U.S. team will host fifth-placed El Salvador, who lost 1-0 to Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday thanks to Cornell Glen's early goal.
"We found it very difficult to settle on the field in the opening minutes and the United States took advantage," Mexico defender Carlos Salcido told world ruling body FIFA's official Web site.
"Then, we became calmer, building our offensive play and our goals finally came."
Davies said the Americans were not too disheartened despite letting the Mexicans get back into qualifying contention.
"We know we're a great team and I think we have what it takes to win here, but today we were a little bit unlucky," Davies told FIFA.com.
"They were able to control most of the game with possession, and I think that's what hurt us."