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Mexico escape Costa Rica scare on penalties to reach Gold Cup Semifinals

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Soccer: CONCACAF Gold Cup-Mexico at Costa Rica Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Mexico National Team came through a tense penalty shootout to advance past Costa Rica to the Semifinals of the 2019 Gold Cup.

Both teams managed to find the net during the first 90 minutes, with El Tri striking first blow just before halftime when Raul Jimenez converted from his own blocked shot to put Mexico into the lead.

In the 50th minute, Costa Rica were fortunate to receive a penalty call in their favor when Joel Campbell appeared to be tripped by Luis “Chaka” Rodriguez just outside the box. Though the contact was minimal and outside the area, match official John Pitti did not hesitate and pointed to the spot. Bryan Ruiz stepped up and made no mistake, firing past Guillermo Ochoa to put the game at 1-1.

Costa Rica’s goal seemed to have revitalized El Tri, and moments later they came close to grabbing the lead again when Raul Jimenez forced a good save from Leonel Moreira.

It was then Carlos Rodriguez’s turn to come close to scoring after the 22-year-old blasted the ball into the woodwork following a great play down the right wing.

With the stalemate holding all the way into extra time, it was time for penalties.

Raul Jimenez was the first to slip up in the very first penalty of the shootout, but Mexico were eventually able to get back into things after Randall Leal missed Costa Rica’s third.

Jesus Gallardo, Oscar Duarte, Hector Moreno, Francisco Calvo, and Carlos Salcedo all then went on to score until Keysher Fuller missed the decisive penalty for Los Ticos to send Mexico through to the Semifinals of the Gold Cup.

Mexico will now travel to Glendale, Arizona, where they will take on Haiti for a spot in the 2019 Gold Cup Final.