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Mexico come back from a goal down to defeat Costa Rica

Down 2-1 at halftime, goals from Henry Martín and Raúl Jiménez were enough to put Los Ticos away.

Mexico v Costa Rica - International Friendly Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Raúl Jiménez stepped up to take the 22nd penalty of his career. Attatched to him was a haunting memory of the penalty he missed vs. Uruguay last month, just the second missed penalty of his career and the only one with the national team. This time, though, despite being face-to-face with Costa Rica’s greatest footballer ever in Keylor Navas, Jiménez slotted it home in the bottom left side to give El Tri a 3-2 victory over Costa Rica Thursday night.

It was a controversial penalty to say the least. During a corner kick, Costa Rica’s David Guzman was caught embracing and bringing down Mexico’s Henry Martin in the box, at least that’s what the referee thought.

Martin was active on the score sheet as well after a beautiful run and subsequent cross from Jürgen Damm found Martin in the box, whose header was too much for Navas.

This all came in a second half that began with El Tri on the wrong side of the scoreboard. In an active game with many opportunities for both sides, it was Costa Rica who went to the break with a one-goal lead.

Joel Campbell found the back of the net off a cross from Bryan Oviedo in the 29th minute and broke the 0-0 deadlock after an exciting first few minutes.

Not even five minutes later, Jose Carlos Van Rankin found Victor Guzman unamarked and all alone in the box, and the Pachuca playmaker gifted the fans with a fantastic volley to tie things up in Nuevo León.

Van Rankin not only played a pivotal role in Mexico’s goal but in Costa Rica’s next one as well. The Chivas right-back slid in to attempt to block a shot but ended up slapping the ball with his hand, resulting in a 44th-minute goal from the penalty spot by captain Bryan Ruiz.

All in all, it was Mexico’s game to win. Costa Rica made Tuca’s team uncomfortable in the first half, but Mexico regained control in the second. 11 El Tri shots with six of them on target were no match for Costa Rica’s four shots with three on target, most of them coming in the first half for Los Ticos. This is a breath of fresh air for El Tri, who have not won a match since their World Cup victory over South Korea on June 23.

Mexico controlled the tempo with 63-percent ball posession, and overall had more opportunities to score, even forcing Navas to be superman on several occasions. Navas’ two saves were vital for the scoreline to not end 5-2 or worse.

Costa Rica unveiled their new coach, former León, América and Atlas manager Gustavo Matosas in this match, although the Uruguayan was watching from the stands.

Mexico now shifts its attention toward Chile, who they will play next on Tuesday, Oct. 16. in Querétaro. Reinaldo Rueda’s squad face Peru in Miami tomorrow before making the trip to face Mexico. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. PST, 8:30 p.m. CDT, 9:30 p.m. EST.

You can follow Antonio on Twitter @antonio1998__