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Mexico Advances To Gold Cup Final On Penalties

CHICAGO, Ill. – Despite many missed attempts, Mexico finally found the back of the net in the 88th minute to take a 1-0 lead over Costa Rica. Just when it looked like El Tri had this thing wrapped up, Los Ticos tied it up with an amazing strike in the final ticks of the game, forcing overtime and then penalty kicks.  

After 120 minutes, with no result. Mexico finally got the penalty kick victory, converting five PKs to Costa Rica’s 3. With the win, Mexico advances to its second straight final and the sixth overall.  

First Half  

Things started quickly when Costa Rican striker Andy Herron crossed the ball into the box in the first minute. Christian Oviedo failed to connect.

In the 12th minute, Costa Rica had another opportunity. Armando Alonso blasted a long ball off a corner kick. It bounced back into play, where Christian Oviedo attempted to finish the rebound, but sent the ball wide left.  

The match heated up in the 18th minute, when Gerardo Torrado tackled a player, causing a mini brawl to break out in the middle of the field. Both teams gathered pushing and shoving, before the referees finally regained control and issued a yellow card to Torrado.  

In the 40th minute, Alonso rocketed another shot directly at Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who easily made the save.  

Mexico’s best opportunity of the first half happened in the 45th minute. Pablo Barrera crossed the ball into the box. Giovanni Dos Santos missed it by a smidgeon, with the half ending 0-0.  

Second Half 

Dos Santos got things started in the 46th minute, rocketing a shot toward goal. Navas smothered it for the save.  

Two minutes later, Herron got tripped up by Mexico’s Juan Carlos Valenzuela, who received a yellow card. Costa Rica didn’t come close on the freekick attempt. But defensively, Costa Rica stepped up in the 50th minute, with Harold Wallace blocking two potential Mexico attempts.   

Herron flew through the air in the 54th minute, kicking the ball into the outer left side netting.  

In the 57th minute, a Costa Rica handball in the box lead to a Mexico penalty kick. Miguel Sabah, the leading scorer in the tournament with four goals, sent a pathetically weak shot to the lower right corner. Navas dove down to make the save. Dos Santos attempted to make up for the miss, by shooting a high ball toward goal moments later. It sailed out.  

Costa Rica’s Wallace sent a long ball toward goal in the 62nd minute, but it flew over the bar. Costa Rica’s Alvaro Saborio pushed Effrain Juarez in the head in the 66th minute. Juarez retaliated pushing Saborio to the ground. The referee gave play back to Mexico. Sabario headed an attempt wide in the 79th minute.  

In the 83rd minute, Mexico missed another opportunity, when a player sent an indirect freekick right into the Costa Rican wall.  

Mexico received another reward when the referee awarded a freekick right outside the box. Torrado sent it off the wall. But Costa Rica failed to clear the attempt. Guillermo Franco, who made his first Gold Cup appearance, blasted it off the wall sending it off Navas and into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead in the 88th minute.  

But just when Mexico looked a bit relaxed, Costa Rica took advantage. A long pass from Wallace led to a push for Los Ticos. Froylan Ledezma beat Mexico’s Juan Carlos Valenzuela and shot a perfect ball into the net, tying the match at 1-1.  


Carlos Vela launched a rocket toward goal in the first few seconds in the first overtime period. The ball deflected out.  

Mexico had another solid chance in the 97th minute, when Dos Santos crossed the ball into the box. Vela couldn’t hit it in. On the play, Navas took a hard dive. He returned to action moments later.  

Costa Rica’s Warren Granados almost gave Costa Rica the lead in the 108th minute, blasting a right-footed attempt at goal. Ochoa got a hand on it, sending it out for a corner kick.  

In the 112th minute, Franco headed the ball high of the post for Mexico’s best chance in the second overtime period. That would be the last shot of the match, with the game going into penalty kicks.  

The shooters for both sides converted all their kick attempts until Ledesma's attempt was blocked by Ochoa. Vela then converted the final Mexico goal kick to seal the victory.

Kathryn Knapp,

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