HOUSTON, Texas – Guillermo Ochoa made the decisive save to earn Mexico a 5-4 penalty shootout win over Costa Rica following a 1-1 draw in their 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinal on Saturday night at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
With El Tricolor leading 5-4 in the shootout, the veteran stopper dived to his right to save Keysher Fuller’s attempt, sending Mexico to the Gold Cup semifinals.
It was not until the 44’ that Mexico had a good look at goal and Raul Jimenez did not waste the chance, as he collected a Rodolfo Pizarro pass and finished past Costa Rica GK Leonel Moreira for a 1-0 lead.
The Ticos looked to strike right back at the beginning of the second stanza and after a foul on Joel Campbell in the area, Bryan Ruiz coolly converted the spot kick to bring Costa Rica level 1-1.
Things stood on a knife’s edge entering the final half-hour and Mexico looked set to take a late lead, only for Carlos Rodriguez to hit the crossbar in the 86’.
In extra time, the Ticos had the best chance through Jonathan McDonald, but Ochoa was alert and made the save.
Things had to be settled in penalty kicks, and ultimately Mexico emerged victorious, as Carlos Salcedo converted the fifth and final penalty before Ochoa’s save on Fuller.
In Gold Cup history, eight quarterfinals have been decided in a penalty shootout.
Costa Rica has never won a Gold Cup penalty shootout:
SF of 2009 vs. MEX (5-3)
QF vs. Honduras en 2011 (4-2). Both games ended in 1-1 draws.
2019 vs. MEX after 1-1 draw
CRC has played 11 Gold Cup QFs: 4W-1D-6L. Has had 2 penalty shootout in QF (loss vs. Honduras in 2011) and Mexico in 2019.
MEX has won its last 7 Gold Cup QFs. Last defeat was vs. Colombia in 2005 (2-1), at NRG Stadium, goals from Gonzalo Pineda (MEX); Abel Aguilar and Jaime Castrillon (COL).