Mexico bounced back from a difficult first half yesterday to overcome a tough Costa Rican side and get a 2-0 win that gives them the ticket to the semifinals. After an even first half, El Tri improved in the second and were the deserved winners. They’ll now wait to play the winner of the Guatemala vs. Jamaica quarterfinal match to know who they‘ll face in the next round.
The match started with Mexico having the return of Cesar Montes after his 4-match suspension his red card in the Nations League. Off a counter attack, Costa Rica had the first dangerous approach when Joel Campbell found Anthony Contreras, who got off a good left-footed shot, but Guillermo Ochoa made a good save. They threatened again when off a free kick, Luis Chavez almost deflected the ball in for an own goal, but it went wide. A great cross by Campbell was saved by a great clearance from Jesus Gallardo.
Mexico attempted a response of its own through a long ball into the area that found Uriel Antuna, but he was indecisive and his shot went wide. A ball was then played into the area and Orbelin Pineda seemed to have gotten to it before being dropped by Chamorro, although replays showed there was no contact for a PK. A great pass by Edson Alvarez could have let to a good opportunity for Mexico, but Henry Martin failed to control the ball and it went out. The halftime whistle blew and a very even first half where both teams traded possession, ended.
Both teams started the second half with the same starting 11. Mexico started well, having more possession and being more offensive. A great play by Pineda, who had been the best player in the second half to that point, found Martin in the area, who was brought down by Kendall Waston and a PK was given. Pineda himself stepped up to take it, and with a well placed right-footed shot, scored past Chamorro to give Mexico the 1-0 lead.
Costa Rica answered with a shot from Suarez that went just wide. Shortly after, a free kick by Chavez went just wide as well. On the back of Pineda, Mexico continued to create offensive plays and be the dominant team on the pitch. After Costa Rica lost the ball, Mexico got near the area where Pineda fired a shot that Chamorro saved. After a flurry of substitutions, Gimenez took a good left-footed shot from outside the area that went just wide. Later, a cross into the area was headed by Gimenez, but Chamorro saved it. A quick restart had Gimenez make a great pass to Alvarado, who then waited to make a pass into the area and to the path of Erick Sanchez, who from close range got it past Chamorro to score the goal that gave Mexico the 2-0 lead and settled the match.
Mexico had a tough assignment, but were able to defeat Costa Rica and get their ticket to the semifinals of the 2023 Gold Cup. Although Costa Rica have strugged recently, they’re always a tough test for Mexico, especially defensively. El Tri suffered, but they improved at the start of the second half and got a deserved win. Mexico will need to keep improving, especially since they should face a tougher rival in the next round, especially if it’s Jamaica. The match will be played on Wednesday, July 12.