Memo Ochoa secures Mexico's passage to Gold Cup semi-finals
Gerardo Martino and the Mexican national team struggled to reach the semi-final stage of the CONCACAF tournament against Costa Rica.
Mexico arrived as the firm favourites against Costa Rica for the Gold Cup quarter-final match at NGR Stadium, but the Ticos are a tough rival for the Mexican team since Gustavo Matosas' side are no longer scared of El Tri and know how to play them equally and hold out against their pressure.
Mexico started the game with a lot of pressure and controlling the ball, creating chances while Costa Rica played a more defensive game, waiting for the counter-attack that would give them the lead and the ticket for the semi-finals. It was an intense game, with both sides fighting for control and to score, testing Memo Ochoa and Leonel Moreira every chance they got; however, Mexico was the one that found more opportunities but failed to conclude them.
With a fantastic goal, Raúl Jiménez gave Gerardo Martino's men the lead just before half time, but things would change for the second half, as the referee John Pitti gave Costa Rica a very ambiguous penalty that Bryan Ruiz took brilliantly to tie the game at one all.
The scoreboard wouldn't move for the rest of the game, with Mexico getting a lot more chances on goal but failing to take advantage. The game moved to extra time, with both squads holding each other off to reach the penalty shoot-out in the end.
Jiménez complicated things for the Mexican team by missing the first penalty, but after Randall Leal failed to convert Costa Rica's third spot-kick, the shoot-out moved to the sixth round of penalties with the scores level at 4-4, and Ochoa became the game's hero by denying Keysher Fuller to give El Tri a much-needed win and a ticket to the semi-finals.
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