PHILADELPHIA – An own-goal proved to be the difference as Costa Rica ousted Panama, 1-0, in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals at Lincoln Financial Field on Wednesday night.
The Ticos, who were eliminated at this stage in three consecutive Gold Cups, will face either the United States or El Salvador in the semifinals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday.
In the first-ever Gold Cup meeting between the Central American rivals, Panama’s Anibal Godoy flicked a free kick by David Guzman into his own net to break the tense stalemate in the 77th minute.
Panama had a late chance to level deep in second-half stoppage time on a free kick from the left that Costa Rica goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton somehow got a touch on as Fidel Escobar and Roberto Chen lurked at the right post unmarked.
Costa Rica had a chance to take the lead early in the second half, but Bryan Ruiz attempt off a terrific back-heel pass by Marco Ureña was parried away by goalkeeper Jose Calderon for a corner kick.
Panama’s best scoring chance came in the 73rd minute, when Gabriel Torres turned and put a bouncing shot on frame from just inside the 18-yard box, but Pemberton did well to deny.
In its last trip to the Gold Cup semifinals, Costa Rica fell to Mexico, 5-3 on penalty kicks, after a 1-1 draw on July 23, 2009.
The Panamanians run of semifinal appearances was snapped at three.